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The 1 3th Battalion 
Royal Highlanders of Canada 

1914-1919 



In the preparation of this work the Department of 
National Defence has allowed the author free access to 
official diaries, orders, messages, maps and other 

documents. 



The 13th Battalion 
Royal Highlanders of Canada 



1914-1919 



Edited and Compiled by 

R. C. Fetherstonhaugh 



Published by 

The 1 3th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada 

1925 



Copyright, Canada, 1925 
by The 1 3th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada 



Printed in Canada 



TO THE PROUD MEMORY OF 
THE 13TH BATTALION DEAD 

1291 IN NUMBER 

THIS BOOK IS RESPECTFULLY 

DEDICATED. 



Author s Foreword 

IN presenting to the public this record of the 13th Battalion, 
C.E.F., the author would like to emphasize two points which 
apply throughout. 

First, the reader is asked to realize that this is the story of 
ONE BATTALION ONLY. No effort has been made to follow 
the fortunes, or record the gallant deeds, of the splendid units with 
which the 13th Battalion was associated, except in so far as these 
directly affected the 13th itself. Considerations of space made 
this policy unavoidable. 

Second, in the matter of individual mention, the author was 
forced to omit the account of many acts of personal courage and 
self sacrifice of an extremely high order. Where two or three such 
have been set down, ten times that number have had to be left out. 
Those who served with the Battalion will realize that no book of 
ordinary dimensions could contain a record which would do even 
approximate justice to individuals. Were other evidence of this 
lacking, a glance at the appendices of this book would carry over 
whelming conviction that the half had not been told. 

In conclusion the author desires to express his appreciation of 
the loyal support afforded him by the officers of the Battalion at 
whose suggestion the compilation of this book was undertaken. 
They furnished him with over 40 specially written reports and 
narratives and granted personal interviews innumerable, whenever 
some knotty problem impeded progress, or some difference in 
opinions required a careful sifting of facts. Also the author would 
acknowledge the unfailing courtesy and assistance of Col. F. 
Logic Armstrong, O.B.E., and Col. A. Fortescue Duguid, D.S.O., 
the former Director of Records and the latter Director of the 
Historical Section, General Staff, Department of National Defence, 
Ottawa, without whose help his task could not have been completed. 
A special debt is also acknowledged to those who in troublous times 
so faithfully kept the Battalion Diary, which is the basis of all the 
pages that follow. 

R. C. F. 
MONTREAL,, February 15,. 1925. 

[vii] 



Foreword 

By MAJOR-GENERAL SIR A. C. MACDONELL, 
K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O. 

"They served with fidelity and fought with valour" CHATHAM. 

THE Battalion, formed in August, 1914, from the two fine 
battalions of the R.H.C., went to England from Valcartier 
in September, 1914, and returned to Canada in April, 1919. 
What the Battalion did in the intervening years is well and interest 
ingly told by our author. He has done his task well ; his narrative 
grips one, albeit it is all too brief and too modest ; and he who reads 
this history must read between the lines to grasp the full measure 
of loyalty, heroism and self-sacrifice almost daily displayed. He 
will realize that "when cannons are roarin and bullets are flying 
the lad that would win glory must never fear dying." 

It is advisable to mention a few of the milestones that led to the 
efficiency of the Royal Highlanders of Canada. Raised in the stir 
ring times of 1862, they became a battalion of the Canadian Militia 
with its glorious traditions, (a militia that has fought for the Crown 
every fifteen years since 1763). First a partially kilted battalion, 
then a kilted battalion, they finally had the honour of wearing the 
Black Watch Tartan. In the South African War, members of the 
Battalion for the first time fought for the Empire outside of Canada 
and Major George Cameron won the D.S.O. 

In 1904 the Regiment was affiliated with the Black Watch ; this 
affiliation was real and fostered by the officers of both regiments, 
notably by Colonel Rose of Kilravock. The 13th started with its 
identity preserved, its Regimental Officers and glorious traditions. 
Tested in the furnace of the Second Battle of Ypres, it proved its 
worth. Compare the reports of the gallantry and losses of the 42nd 
Black Watch at Ticonderoga and the 13th Battalion at the above 
named battle. 

The raising of the 42nd and 73rd Battalions from the R.H.C. 
added to the Regimental morale. 

Then came the crowning- glory, the request that they should 
mount the "Red Hackle." When I was promoted to command the 
1st Canadian Division in June, 1917, the 13th were already a dis 
tinguished battalion with all the ear marks that indicate a good 

[ix] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

battalion. They had intensely patriotic officers, good Esprit de 
Corps, good discipline, traditions, and a great record which all 
seemed determined should not be tarnished. The} were well com 
manded ; think for a moment of their Colonels Alajor-General Sir 
Frederick Loomis who put his efficient mark on the Battalion, Victor 
Buchanan, Eric McCuaig later Brigadier-General, Kenneth Perry, 
Ian Sinclair hard to equal, my masters, as Battalion Commanders 
in a stark fight. Count their decorations, not forgetting their wound 
stripes; and, although he never actually commanded the Battalion, 
I must mention gallant, modest Clark-Kennedy, V.C., a real hero. 
As battle followed battle I became thoroughly imbued with the 
Battalion s soundness and absolute dependability. Look up the 
book and see for yourself what they did. One splendid fact is 
outstanding, wounded officers always returned to the Battalion as 
soon as possible. 

May I, at the risk of being too long, give my impression of a 
scene that is indelibly imprinted on my memory, a picture I love to 
recall, namely the presentation of Colours by H.R.H. Prince Arthur 
of Connaught. The Battalion never looked smarter, the setting 
for a Highland Battalion was perfect. Drawn up in line with their 
backs to a swift running rippling mountain stream on a meadow 
surrounded by well wooded hills, this battle-trained battalion of 
Royal Highlanders, victors on many a bloody triumphant field, 
proudly wearing the Red Hackle, received their Colours after a 
victorious campaign, from the hands of a Royal Prince, as knights 
of old received their spurs. The day was dark and overcast, Col. 
Perry asked and received permission to march past. He formed the 
Battalion up in column of half battalions, the Colours in the centre. 
Just as he gave the command "March," the sun burst out. Never 
have I seen a more gloriously martial sight than the 13th Battalion, 
Royal Highlanders, at their best, as, with pipes playing, bayonets 
fixed, Colours flying, kilts swinging, they passed the saluting base 
in the burst of sun light. 

The 13th and 42nd Battalions were both towers of strength to 
me, hence my pride in the honour of writing this foreword. 

In closing, may I congratulate the author heartily on his work. 

A. C. MACDONELL, 

Maj. -General. 

Late Commanding 1st Canadian Division. 



Contents 

CHAPTER I. PACK 

THE OUTBREAK OE THE WAR. June 28, 1914 September 26, 

1914 3 

CHAPTER II. 

THE VOYAGE TO ENGLAND AND SALISBURY PLAINS. Septem 
ber 26, 1914 February 10, 1915 . . . .15 

CHAPTER III. 

OVER TO FRANCE AND INTO ACTION. February 10, 1915 

April 10, 1915 .... 29 

CHAPTER IV. 
THE SECOND BATTLE OE YPRES. April 10, 1915 May 5, 1915 41 

CHAPTER V. 

FESTUBERT, GIVENCHY AND PLOEGSTEERT. May 5, 1915 

August 12, 1915 . . . . . . .55 

CHAPTER VI. 
MESSINES. August 12, 1915 March 17, 1916 69 

CHAPTER VII. 

HILL 60, THE BLUFF AND MOUNT SORREL. March 17, 1916 

May 31, 1916 ... . .81 

CHAPTER VIII. 
THE JUNE SHOW, 1916. May 31, 1916 June 13, 1916 . 95 

CHAPTER IX. 

SANCTUARY WOOD, VERBRANDENMOLEN AND WATTEN. June 

13, 1916 August 31, 1916 . ... 108 

[xi] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

CHAPTER X. 
THE SOMME. August 31, 1916-October 9, 1916 . . .122 

CHAPTER XL 

THE WINTER OE 1916-1917. October 9, 1916 March 1, 
1917 

CHAPTER XII. 
VIMY RIDGE. March 1, 1917 April 10, 1917 . . . . 157 

CHAPTER XIII. 

THEUJS, FARBUS, ARLEUX AND FRESNOY. April 10, 1917- 
July 16, 1917 

CHAPTER XIV. 
HIM, 70. July 16, 1917 August 16, 1917 . . . . . 188 

CHAPTER XV. 
PASSCHENDAEI.E. August 16, 1917 November 12, 1917 . 202 

CHAPTER XVI. 

THE THIRD WINTER IN FRANCE. November 12, 1917- -March 
20, 1918 

CHAPTER XVII. 
ANXIOUS DAYS. March 20, 1918 May 7, 1918 . . .226 

CHAPTER XVIII. 
G.H.Q. RESERVE. M&y 7, 1918 August 3, 1918 . . .238 

CHAPTER XIX. 
THE BATTLE OE AMIENS. August 3, 1918 August 21, 1918 247 

[xii] 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XX. PAGE 

THE SECOND BATTLES OF ARRAS, 1918. August 21, 1918- 

September 14, 1918 . 262 



CHAPTER XXI. 

THE CANAL DU NORD. September 14, 1918 September 29, 

1918 .. .. . 271 

CHAPTER XXII. 

THE BEGINNING of THE END. September 29, 1918 October 

10, 1918 . ... 281 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

THE LAST OF THE FIGHTING. October 10, 1918 November 

11, 1918 . . 293 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

THE MARCH TO THE RHINE. November 11, 1918 January 

4, 1919 . 304 

CHAPTER XXV. 

BACK FROM GERMANY AND HOME TO CANADA. January 4, 

1919 April 20, 1919 . .314 

Appendices 

APPENDIX A. 
LIST OF THE DEAD . .323 

APPENDIX B. 
HONOURS AND AWARDS .... . 338 

APPENDIX C. 
STATISTICS . . . 344 



Illustrations 

PAGE 

13TH BATTALION, R.H.C., SALISBURY PLAINS, FEBRUARY, 

Frontispiece 

MAPLE COPSE, YPRES SALIENT, JUNE, 1916 . 112 

A TRENCH SCENE, YPRES SALIENT, JUNE, 1916 112 

IN RESERVE NEAR LENS . . 
FARBUS, MAY, 1917 .. 



MEMORIAL CROSS, ERECTED BY THE BATTALION AT NINE ELMS, 

VIMY RIDGE, MAY, 1917 . . 192 

MARCHING BACK TO REST BILLETS AFTER THE CAPTURE OF 

HILL 70, AUGUST, 1917 . 208 

MARCHING FROM HILL 70, AUGUST, 1917 208 

AVION, SEPTEMBER, 1917 224 

PASSCHENDAELE, NOVEMBER, 1917 . 224 

WINTER, 1917-1918 . 240 

IN THE TRENCHES NEAR LENS, DECEMBER, 1917 . 240 

A TROPHY. AMIENS, AUGUST STH, 1918 256 

THE DROCOURT-QUEANT LINE, SEPTEMBER, 1918 . 256 

ENTRAINING AT BENSBERG, JANUARY STH, 1919 308 
COLOURS PRESENTED IN GERMANY BY H.R.H. PRINCE ARTHUR 

OF CONNAUGHT, JANUARY 4TH, 1919 . 3Q8 

COMMANDING OFFICERS, 13TH BATTALION, R.H.C. . 316 

Maps 

YPRES AND FESTUBERT . 4g 

THE SOMME AND AMIENS 128 

ARRAS AND CAMBRAI . . 272 



The 1 3th Battalion 
Royal Highlanders of Canada 

1914-1919 



CHAPTER I 

The Outbreak of the War 

For all we have and are 
For all our children s fate 
Stand up and take the war 
The Hun is at the gate! 

Though all we knew depart 
The old commandments stand 
"In courage keep your heart 
In strength lift up your hand." 

RUDYARD KlPUNG. 
I 

ON June 28th, 1914, when a Serbian fanatic assassinated the 
Austrian Archduke, Francis Ferdinand, and his consort, 
Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, in the little Bosnian town 
of Sarajevo, the event was not looked upon in Canada as of out 
standing interest. Bosnians, Serbs, Russians and other foreign 
peoples were given to political murder and something of the kind 
was bound to happen every once in a while, no effect being felt 
beyond the boundaries of the countries immediately concerned. 

This particular murder, then, excited no more than casual inter 
est. It was not even a nine days wonder. People read about it, 
expressed a certain amount of pious horror and promptly forgot it 
in the rush of more important events connected with the summer s 
activities. 

In mid-July foreign selling of securities became noticeable and 
financial circles sensed that something was wrong, but it was not 
until July 23rd that the situation became at all clear. On that date 
Austria presented an ultimatum to Serbia and the next day, when 
the contents of this note were made public, the world woke up with 
a start to realize that war was in the air. 

Events now moved with bewildering rapidity, so much so that 
by August 2nd negotiations had broken down and the Great World 
War had begun. England, who had striven desperately to avert 
the disaster, was inevitably drawn in. Whatever may have been 

[3] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

the desire of the British people as to taking part in the war, the 
appeal of the Belgian King removed all doubt from their minds. 
England s duty to take part with Belgium against any ag 
gressor was clear and unmistakable. Promptly Sir Edward Grey 
demanded a guarantee from France and Germany that Belgian 
neutrality would be observed. France gave the required promise, 
but Germany refused point blank to do so. And so it came about 
that on August 4th, at midnight, England declared war against 
Germany. 

II 

As soon as it became apparent that war was probable Canada 
and the other Dominions rallied immediately to the support of the 
Imperial Government. Britain s quarrel was obviously just and 
the Dominions took it up without quibble or hesitation. 

On July 30th Col. the Hon. Sam Hughes, Canadian Minister of 
Militia and Defence, presided at a special meeting of the Militia 
Council, after which it was announced that, in the event of war, 
Canada would send overseas a First Contingent of from 20,000 to 
25,000 men. On August 1st H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught tele 
graphed this offer to the British Government and asked on behalf 
of the Canadian people in what further way they could be of 
assistance. 

Meanwhile in the armouries and drill sheds of the Dominion 
steps were being taken to prepare units for the Expeditionary Force 
that was to be. In this work the 5th Royal Highlanders of Canada 
took the part expected of them. Formed on January 31st, 1862, 
the 5th Royal Highlanders of Canada had, since 1904, been affiliated 
with the famous Black Watch, the oldest Highland Regiment in the 
British Army, which in turn was lineally descended from the six 
"Independent Companies of the Watch" raised in 1725. With such 
distinguished affiliations and with a proud record of its own to 
maintain, the 5th responded promptly to the unexpected call. In 
the absence of Lieut.-Cols. Cantlie and Ross, who were in England, 
Lieut.-Col. Peers Davidson addressed the Regiment in the Armoury 
on Bleury St., calling on officers and men alike to rally to the 
colours for service overseas. So enthusiastic was the response to 
this stirring speech that a telegram was despatched to the Minister 
of Militia forthwith, offering a battalion of Highlanders for what 
ever service might be required of them. 

[4] 



THE OUTBREAK OF THE WAR 

On August 6th the Canadian Government called for enlistments 
for overseas service and on Friday, August 7th, recruiting- was 
actively begun. On that day there appeared in the Montreal papers 
the following advertisement, which, with no great stretch of fancy, 
can be considered the "birth notice" of the 13th Battalion: 

5TH ROYAI, HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 
ACTIVE SERVICE CONTINGENT. 

\/f EMBERS of the Regiment and others wishing to enrol in the Con 
tingent which will be sent by the Regiment for Active Service abroad, 
will make application at the Orderly Room after 9 a.m. on Saturday, the 
8th instant. 

D. R. McCuAiG, Major, 

Regimental Adjutant. 

As will be noticed in the above advertisement, the 13th Battalion 
had not up to this time been given its distinctive number. For 
some time it was still to be known as the "Active Service Con 
tingent" of the Parent Regiment. Recruits flocked to its colours of 
their own accord and in addition recruiting parties were active, not 
in Montreal alone, but also in Sherbrooke and other parts of the 
surrounding country. 

Major F. O. W. Loomis, who was appointed to command the 
new Battalion with the rank of Brevet Lieut.-Colonel, was a Sher 
brooke man by birth. Born in 1870, he had joined the 53rd Militia 
Battalion when only 16 years of age. Twelve years later his inter 
est and ability had earned him a commission and in 1903, on his 
moving to Montreal, he had transferred to the 5th Royal High 
landers. Now all his years of training were to serve him in good 
stead. Recruits poured in faster than they could be handled, or 
so it seemed, but under Col. Loomis supervision and by the stren 
uous efforts of all concerned the wheels of enlistment were somehow 
kept turning. 

Difficulties there were serious, difficulties but these were met 
as they arose and disposed of as seemed best at the time. In ordin 
ary circumstances many of the points that came up could not have 
been settled without reference to Ottawa, but Ottawa was having 
troubles of its own and requests for instructions or information 
often met with no response. Under such conditions Col. Loomis 
and his officers very wisely took things into their own hands. 

[5] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Typical of the time was the necessity of purchasing supplies and 
equipment without adequate authority to do so, or more bluntly, 
with no authority to do so at all. On this point there was no hesita 
tion. What was needed was bought at once and permission sought 
afterwards. Assistance to meet these conditions was generously 
offered by honorary members of the Regiment, who placed at the 
C.O. s disposal a sum of money sufficient to tide over this difficult 
time. ^ 

Meanwhile, in addition to the organization and recruiting activ 
ities, drilling of the men already enlisted was steadily carried on. 
A considerable number of these had had military training of some 
sort, either with the Parent Regiment or elsewhere, but others had 
had no training whatsoever and these had to be taught the very 
rudiments. About 65% to 75% of the recruits were Old Country 
men, the remainder native Canadians, with a small scattering of 
total outsiders who for one reason or another had decided to join 
up. In regard to the officers these proportions were reversed, all 
but four of those appointed being Canadian born. 

To look back on those strenuous days is to marvel at the rapid 
ity with which the unit took shape. Enthusiasm ran high and, 
under the stimulus o<f the prevailing excitement, men worked 
twelve, fifteen and eighteen hours a day, hardly realizing that they 
did so. It seems almost invidious to mention anyone by name 
when all gave freely of the best that was in them, but justice would 
not be done if some tribute were not paid to the untiring efforts 
of Col. Loomis, Major E. C. Norsworthy, the Second-in-Command, 
and Major V. C. Buchanan, the Junior Major. In addition to these 
the eight Company Commanders, Major D. R. McCuaig, Capt. C. 
J. Smith, Capt. R. H. Jamieson, Capt. K. M. Perry, Capt. L. W. 
Whitehead, Capt. T. S. Morrisey, Capt. H. F. Walker and Capt. 
W. H. Clark-Kennedy, worked with might and main, as did Capt. 
G. E. McCuaig, the Adjutant, and the Medical Officers, Major E. 
R. Brown and Capt. Douglas Morgan. Of the N.C.O. s none 
rendered more valuable services than Sergt.-Major D. A. Bethune 
and Sergt. J. K. Beveridge. 

In spite of hard work and serious attention to duty, the times 
were not entirely devoid of humorous incident. Few of those 
privileged to be present will forget the newly appointed lance- 
corporal who was earnestly drilling an awkward squad on Fletcher s 
Field At the edge of the small plot allotted to him was a group 

[6] 



THE OUTBREAK OF THE WAR 

of nurse-maids whose admiring, and not exactly inaudible, com 
ments brought hot blushes to his face and confusion to his brain. 
Gradually his orders suffered; sharp and clear at first, they soon 
reflected his embarrassed state of mind. Finally, as the Colonel 
approached to look things over, confusion took control. "Squad!" 
roared the corporal, "Right! No, left! No! .... Oh, damn it! 
tur-r-n yer faces tae the Colonel and yer backs on a thae blatherin 



weemin." 



As August wore on the ranks of the companies steadily filled 
and rumours were heard that soon the Battalion would go under 
canvas. More definite was the news that Col. Sam Hughes in per 
son was to inspect the unit previous to its departure. This inspec 
tion was duly held on the Champ de Mars and was in many ways 
memorable. Men who took part in it say that it awakened in them 
the first real certainty that stern work lay ahead. The spot was 
historic and had echoed in the past to the tramp of those fighting- 
men whose names and deeds are shrined in Canadian history. 
The night was wild ; thunder was incessant and lightning, flashing 
on the bayonets and reflecting from the pools of water, seemed 
to convey a grim warning of what was to come. 

For a few days after the review the routine of training con 
tinued. At last, however, orders were received for the Battalion 
to proceed to Valcartier on the evening of August 24th. All that 
day the Armoury was a scene of intense activity. It seemed that 
the thousand and one things to be done could never be done in time. 
Hundreds of people crowded about the doors seeking some excuse 
to see what was going on inside. In the interests of discipline and 
efficiency, however, admission was strictly limited to those who had 
actual business within and to the men s relatives and close personal 
friends who came to bid them farewell. To these tickets had been 
issued to simplify the duties of the guard on the door. Without 
this precaution there would have been chaos. Even as it was, the 
Armoury was uncomfortably crowded w hen the Battalion paraded, 
1017 Strong, for the march to the station. 

At approximately 9.15 p.m. Col. Loomis gave the sharp com 
mands which started the unit on its way to the war. At his orders the 
great doors of the Armoury swung open, the pipers struck up a 
martial air, company after company passed into the street and, with 
the Colonel himself leading, the Battalion headed for the station. 
Few who took part in, or witnessed, that march will ever forget it. 

[7] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Down Bleury St. and west along- St. Catherine St. the Battalion 
made its way, the ranks almost demoralized by a cheering, swaying 
mob of humanity. Montreal had not yet grown accustomed to such 
sights; not yet did the people realize that war meant long lists of 
dead and wounded. That day was to come, but it was still some 
distance in the future, so people waved and cheered and cheered and 
waved without much thought of where the men they cheered were 
going. The men themselves were carried away by the prevailing ex 
citement. Around them was a sea of faces and a Niagara of noise. 
Connected thought was out of the question. Historic as the mo 
ment was, they had little opportunity to appreciate its significance. 
Shouted greetings had to be acknowledged; friendly quips called 
for repartee and the very business of pushing through the crowded 
streets demanded no small amount of effort and attention, 

At Peel St., where the unit swung south, the crowd was even 
denser than before and the skirl of the approaching pipes caused 
such a wave of enthusiasm that the pushing, jostling, cheering 
citizens nearly broke up the parade. The police were helpless and 
the Battalion s ranks were broken repeatedly. Under such cir 
cumstances it was a relief for officers and men to march into the 
comparative quiet of the carefully guarded Windsor Station, where 
two special trains awaited them. Once the men were on board 
no time was wasted. At 11 p.m. the first train steamed out, fol 
lowed by the second a few minutes later. Thus, after a send-off such 
as the old City had probably never seen before, the 13th Battalion 
left Montreal. 

Ill 

Bright and early on the morning of August 25th the two trains 
carrying the 13th arrived at Valcartier Station, 16 miles west of 
Quebec. Here the unit detrained and marched two miles to camp. 

Even yet few people realize how Valcartier sprang into existence 
almost over night. When the war broke out the site was a wilder 
ness; the 13th on arrival found a model camp. Roads had 
been laid, drains and water pipes installed, showers erected and 
electric light brought in from Quebec; three and a half miles of 
railway sidings had been built, a telephone exchange was in opera 
tion, also a rifle range 3 miles long said to be the largest in the 
world. Thirty-three thousand men assembled in this Camp and 
lived in it for over a month, while, owing to the excellence of its 

[8] 



THE OUTBREAK OF THE WAR 

site and sanitary arrangements, there was practically no sickness 
at all. 

On reaching camp the Battalion suffered its first experience of 
that Army bug-bear "conflicting orders." At first there were in- 
sufficient tents, but eventually more arrived and these were pitched 
on a site indicated by an officer of the H.Q. Staff. Just as this job 
was completed and the men, some of whom had never been in 
camp before, were admiring the effect, instructions were received to 
strike the tents and move them to a location two hundred yards 
away. This order was smartly carried out, but evoked consider 
able profanity from the hard worked rank and file. Hardly were 
the tents up on the new site when profanity was struck dumb by 
the arrival of orders to move them back again. 

By night tents for the whole Battalion had been pitched in a 
satisfactory location and on the following day the unit took up its 
routine of training. 

At this time the Battalion found itself in the peculiar situation 
of being a unit within a unit. Technically it was a part of the 
12th Battalion, a force approximately 1700 strong, under the com 
mand of Lieut. -Col. F. H. McLeod. Actually it preserved its 
identity and carried on its own affairs, maintaining at the same 
time cordial relations with the other parts of the 12th Battalion, 
included in which was a large contingent from the Pictou 
Highlanders. 

Training continued steadily all through the remainder of August 
and September. Each day the Battalion paraded to an allotted 
area and practised manoeuvres, or proceeded to the rifle ranges and 
put in a day s work at the targets. Under the instruction of Capt. 
R. H. Jamieson and Sergt. -Major J. Jeffery the shooting of the men 
showed marked improvement and, by the end of a month, was 
really of a high standard. 

In addition to this routine of training the Battalion on two 
occasions took part in night outpost schemes. During the latter of 
these contact was established between two of the opposing patrols 
and, so keen were the men, that casualties of a serious nature were 
barely averted. Some lusty blows are said to have been struck on 
this occasion, but no real damage ensued. 

Meanwhile those in charge of documents and records were hav 
ing a strenuous time. Re-attestation of the whole force took place 
and men parading for typhoid inoculation had to bring their papers 

[9] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

with them, the result being- that hundreds of papers got mixed up 
in an almost hopeless tangle. Day and night work in the battalion 
orderly rooms sorted these out before the units sailed, but it was a 
close call. In the 13th the situation was not finally cleared up till 
after midnight of the last day in camp. 

In connection with the anti-typhoid inoculation several "old 
soldiers" pointed out that this was a "voluntary" measure to which 
they did not choose to submit. For a while it appeared they would 
get their way, but the M.O. was obdurate and presented an ulti 
matum. "You can t be forced into this," said he, "its purely volun 
tary, but you damned well can t go to this war without it. Take 
your choice!" Faced with the awful possibility of being left be 
hind, the "old soldiers" yielded without delay. No little amusement 
was caused, however, when it was found that the M.O. had not up 
to this time been inoculated himself. Gleefully his own alternatives 
were presented to him and gracefully he conceded the point. It is 
to be feared that the sore arm he carried for some days thereafter 
did not meet with the sympathy it deserved. 

Another surrender to the force of public opinion was that of a 
small group of five or six men who had volunteered to transfer to 
the R.C.R. and accompany that Regiment to Bermuda. These men 
backed down and elected to remain with the 13th when a jeering 
group of their comrades gathered to "boo" them out of the Battalion 
lines. 

During the latter period of the Battalion s stay at Valcartier, 
the Quartermaster, Capt. J. Handley, was a busy man indeed. 
Constant issues of supplies and equipment took place, including 
Ross rifles, bayonets, entrenching tools and web equipment, as well 
as Regimental transport in the form of Bain wagons, a Maltese 
cart for medical supplies and so on. 

Horses (about sixty in number) were issued towards the middle 
of the month. Not long afterwards a party of men was furnished 
by the Battalion to lead a string of horses from the Station to the 
Remount Depot, some distance away. When it became clear that 
this procession would pass through the Battalion lines, an informal 
committee was convened to study how this opportunity could best 
be turned to the Battalion s advantage. High officers served on this 
committee and gave the situation their earnest thought. No report 
on their deliberations has ever been published, but it is a fact that, 
after the cavalcade had passed, some twelve of the Battalion s 

[10] 



THE OUTBREAK OF THE WAR 

horses seemed fresher and younger than before, while an equal 
number of the remounts had aged in a manner that was truly 
remarkable. 

While on the subject of horses it is of interest to note that 
white horses were not permitted in the contingent in their natural 
state, the idea being that a white horse would be conspicuous in 
actual warfare and the rider subjected to unnecessary risk. 
Amongst the victims of this theory was a beautiful animal, the 
property of Major V. C. Buchanan. It was intended that this 
horse should be dyed a khaki colour, but .something went wrong with 
the dye and the result was a little queer. Several attempts were 
made to give this new colour a name, but it was an elusive shade, 
defying all description. "Heifer-brindle" came, perhaps, as near 
as any other effort. 

Social activities at Valcartier call for little comment. Two of 
the officers, Capt. W. H. Clark-Kennedy and Lieut. Hutton Crowdy, 
were married during the month and, on the occasion of these wed 
dings, as many as possible of the 13th officers attended. Visitors 
Day was another event of a more or less social character. On this 
day the Battalion lines were thrown open so that officers and men 
alike could ask their friends to come and see them. This invitation 
was accepted by a large number of people, many of whom came 
down from Montreal specially for the occasion. Every effort was 
made to accommodate these guests and to make them comfortable 
and there is no doubt that they enjoyed their visit. 

Many ladies were amongst those to whom hospitality was ex 
tended and the presence of these led to several amusing incidents. 
One officer, for example, recalls with horror his predicament when 
a fair visitor spied him in the distance and rushed over to enquire 
the whereabouts of another officer, a mutual friend. The other 
officer, all unconscious of being in demand, was puffing and blowing 
beneath a shower not many yards distant. Firmly the first officer 
insisted that the mutual friend was miles away. Pointing with his 
stick he indicated some distant hills where, he explained, stern duty 
and the exigencies of the Service kept the latter at work. Mean 
while he conducted the lady back to the main road, carefully main 
taining some obstruction in the line of vision to the showers. "I 
thought I did it awfully well," this officer tells the story, "but since 
then the lady has more than once referred to me as tactful/ so 
sometimes I wonder." 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Meanwhile the work of the Battalion had steadily progressed. 
The men had toughened and hardened from the open air life and 
were now as sunburned and healthy a lot as could be imagined. 
Constant shuffling of N.C.O. s had taken place to insure that in 
each case the best man for the post had been secured. These 
changes were effective in stimulating the ambition of the men and 
in keeping those N.C.O. s already appointed from looking on their 
positions as secure. Each man had to work and show ability to 
get promotion and work still harder to keep from being reduced 
again. 

About this time the authorized strength of the Battalion was 
increased to 1100 and that of the establishment of officers to 45. 
About 150 men, in several parties, were absorbed from a British 
Columbia (East Kootenay) unit and amongst the new officers at 
tached were a Paymaster, Capt. W. J. Taylor, of London, Ontario, 
and a Chaplain, Capt. A. M. Gordon, from Kingston. 

Among the events of interest as the month drew to its close was 
a speech to all the officers of the camp by the Minister of Militia, 
Maj.-Gen. the Hon. Sam Hughes. The difficulties of the historian 
in describing an incident of this sort are exemplified in the present 
instance. One diary refers to this speech as "an inspiring address," 
while another account states quite simply that the Minister called 
the officers of the whole camp together and "got off a blast of hot 



air." 



Be this as it may, the event was important as it marked the near 
approach of the day when the Contingent would sail. By this time 
the various units at Valcartier had been shuffled and re-shuffled to 
form the 1st Canadian Division. The 13th Battalion, Royal High 
landers of Canada, now quite distinct from the 12th Battalion, found 
itself one of the four battalions constituting the 3rd Infantry Bri 
gade, under the command of Col. R. E. W. Turner, V.C., D.S.O., 
a veteran who had won distinction in South Africa. With the 13th 
in the Brigade were the 14th Battalion (Royal Montreal Regiment), 
composed of detachments from the 1st Regiment, Canadian 
Grenadier Guards, the 3rd Regiment, Victoria Rifles of Canada, and 
the 65th Regiment, Carabiniers Mont-Royal; the 15th Battalion 
(48th Highlanders) Toronto, and the 16th Battalion (Canadian 
Scottish), made up of units from the Seaforth Highlanders (Van 
couver), the Gordon Highlanders (Victoria), the Cameron High 
landers (Winnipeg) and the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 

[12] 



THE OUTBREAK OF THE WAR 

(Hamilton). This association, begun at Valcartier, lasted 
throughout the whole war. 

In the meantime the process of equipping the 13th had continued 
and a Base Company, under Capt. F. P. Buchanan, had been estab 
lished. All, therefore, was in readiness for H.R.H. the Duke of 
Connaught s great review, which, it was generally realized, was a 
sign that the day of departure was near indeed. This review was 
most imposing. H.R.H. was accompanied by the Duchess of Con- 
naught, the Princess Patricia, Sir Robert Borden and many other 
notables. General Sam Hughes, who led the march past, had every 
reason to be proud of the force that, under his supervision, had 
developed so amazingly in a few short weeks. The units marched 
past in columns of half battalions in line, this being necessary to 
enable so large a force to pass the saluting point in the time avail 
able. Even the Duke of Connaught, with his many years of service 
and his memories of reviews in all parts of the world, was impressed 
by the soldierly bearing and smart appearance of these troops, who, 
less than two months before, had little thought that a call for active 
service would ever come their way. It was with emotion that 
H.R.H. bade them farewell and! wished them God speed. 

Immediately after the review preparations began for the Con 
tingent to embark. The censorship closed down tight and for some 
days Valcartier was cut off from communication with the outside 
world. All over Canada this was correctly interpreted to mean that 
the Division was on the move. 

In so far as the 13th was concerned the move began on the even 
ing of September 25th. On that date, exactly one month after the 
arrival of the Battalion in camp, the transport, under Capt. E. J. 
Carthew, marched for Quebec. On the following morning reveille 
sounded at 3 o clock and all ranks put in a prompt appearance. 
Sharp frost had occurred during the night, but hard work soon 
warmed the men up. After an early breakfast the Battalion paraded 
and marched to the station, passing on the way Maj.-Gen. the Hon. 
Sam Hughes, who took the salute. While the weather on this oc 
casion was not all that could be desired, the men were in excellent 
spirits and kept up a lusty chorus of song. These songs were many 
and varied. Scotch songs predominated, as was fit and proper in 
a Highland Regiment, but there were English and Canadian songs 
as well, and songs to which no nation would lay claim without a 
blush. "Tipperary" was, perhaps, the most popular of all. No one 

[13] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

knows why this trifling ditty appealed so strongly, but the fact re 
mains that to this tune the "Old Contemptibles" poured across the 
Channel to their glorious end, while in all parts of the Empire the 
tune to this day brings to mind fleeting visions of the "original" 
battalions. 

In spite of the weather the 13th reached the station in time to 
entrain at 8 o clock. By nine, or a little after, Valcartier had been 
left behind and the train was slowing down at the docks in Quebec. 



[14] 



CHAPTER II 

The Voyage to England and Salisbury 

Plain 

Shadow by shadow, stripped for fight 
The lean black cruisers search the sea 
Night long their level shafts of light 
Revolve, and find no enemy. 
Only they know each leaping wave 
May hide the lightning and their grave. 

ALFRED No YES. 
I 

ON arrival at Quebec the Battalion, whose total strength is 
given as 45 officers and 1,112 other ranks, proceeded to em 
bark on R. M.S. Alan/ilia, of the Cunard Line, which had been 
requisitioned by the Government as a transport. This ship was 
commanded by Captain Rostron, R.N.R., who previously when in 
command of the Carpathian had made a name for himself by his 
work in saving lives from the ill-fated Titanic. With the 13th on 
board were the H.Q. of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, under Col. 
Turner, two companies of the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regi 
ment, under Lieut.-Col. F. S. Meighen, and A.S.C. Details (Div l 
Train). Accommodation for officers and men alike was all that 
could be desired and throughout the voyage no complaints on this 
score were recorded. The men in particular found themselves in 
luxury, the soft bunks and the more varied food forming a sharp 
contrast to the less elaborate conditions they had become accustomed 
to. 

The Transport of the 13th was not on board the Alaunia, it 
having joined other Transport on a different vessel. Lieut. Andrew 
Reford, however, made arrangements with the ship s owners where 
by eleven supernumerary horses, the property of officers of the 
Battalion, were taken over with the unit. Difficulty was experienced 
in negotiating this arrangement, but eventually the owners agreed 
to it and shelters for the horses were hurriedly constructed on the 
after deck. 

[15] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

As soon as embarkation was completed the Alaunia pulled out 
from the dock and steamed slowly up stream to an anchorage off 
Wolfe s Cove. This position she maintained for the next four days, 
during which officers and men were initiated into the mysteries of 
routine at sea." Three officers and fifty men were on duty all 
the time at the numerous sentry posts and other strategic locations 
which the "routine" indicated. Guards were mounted at 10 o clock 
each morning and it was the duty of one subaltern, the "Officer of 
the Day," to make frequent rounds day and night and report every 
two hours to the "Officer of the Watch. 

On the afternoon of September 30th a farewell message from 
H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught was read out and shortly afterwards 
the ship raised anchor and slipped slowly down the River. To all 
on board it was a very stirring moment. No one knew where the 
Force was going ; all that was known was that it was leaving Canada 
for service somewhere overseas. Emotion was, of course, carefully 
concealed, but the man who did not feel it must have been a lump 
of clay indeed. On deck the pipe band burst into the strains of 
"Highland Laddie" and "Scotland the Brave," while the men, as 
soon as the pipes were silent, joined in a mighty chorus of "O 
Canada" and "Auld Lang Syne." Other transports were also on 
the move and from their decks, too, came great volumes of cheering 
and song. 

Gathering speed the Alaunia proceeded down stream and in 
about an hour had reached a point where Quebec, with its towering 
Citadel, was lost to view in the gathering haze astern. Thus another 
of the milestones marking the Battalion s progress was passed and 
left behind. 

II 

That night Lieut. Melville Greenshields was the victim of a 
practical joke played by his brother officers. In the endless talks 
that were always taking place Greenshields had stoutly maintained 
his lack of belief in the value of much of the routine laid down in 
orders. In particular he claimed that the constant rounds of the 
"Officer of the Day" were a sheer waste of time and in justification 
of his argument he pointed out that already the routine had been 
relaxed to the extent that this officer was now permitted to get some 
sleep during his twenty-four hour tour of duty. Greenshields was 
on duty on this particular night and announced that he intended, 

[16] 



ENGLAND AND SALISBURY PLAIN 

while being available at a moment s notice, to sleep soundly if no 
particular service were required of him. During the evening he 
received a "wireless" message, ordering him to see that all sentries 
were on the alert between 2 and 3 a.m. This, needless to say, was a 
"fake," as Greenshields probably suspected, but his military con 
science, more acute than he was willing to admit, forbade his ignor 
ing it. If the sentries were not alert that night, their failure was 
not the fault of the "Officer of the Day." He visited them regularly 
and, in the morning, accepted a storm of chaff with perfect com 
posure. Always a popular officer, his sportsmanlike behaviour on 
this occasion advanced him still further in the regard of his 
comrades. 

On October 1st a rumour circulated that a whole fleet of trans 
ports was to rendezvous at Father Point and there await a naval 
escort. Considerable credence was given to this report, but the 
Alaunia passed Father Point and at night, when the troops turned 
in, she was still steadily steaming to an unknown destination. 

Morning on October 2nd, however, gave the secret away. When 
the troops awoke and came on deck they gazed on a truly wonderful 
scene. Anchored in a great and beautiful bay, which turned 
out to be Gaspe, lay a large fleet of transports and warships. 
In the glory of the morning sunshine and in the shadow of the 
surrounding hills, the sight was too magnificent for ordinary powers 
of description. Men felt the impressive nature of the scene, but 
groped in vain for words to express their thoughts. Sea power, 
of which they had heard so much and knew so little, lay tangibly 
before them in a setting which, for sheer, rugged beauty, it would 
be hard to surpass. 

All that day the ships lay at anchor, under the protection of the 
ever watchful cruisers. At night one of these latter patrolled the 
mouth of the Basin to make sure that no enemy approached. 

On the following day Maj.-Gen. Sam Hughes visited the Alaunia 
to make his final adieu. On leaving he took with him a large bundle 
of letters which officers and men had written to their friends. 
Fearing that someone s indiscretion might prejudice the safety ot 
the whole convoy, Gen. Hughes kept these letters under his control 
till news reached him that the Contingent had arrived in England. 
Once this news was confirmed, the letters were entrusted to the 
mails and duly forwarded to their destinations. 

At 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 3rd, the thirty-one ships left 

[17] 

2 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Gaspe Basin and formed up in three columns outside. The three 
columns were about a mile apart and each ship a quarter mile be 
hind the one in front. Escort for the transports was provided by 
His Majesty s Ships, Ckarybdis, Diana, Lancaster, Eclipse, Glory, 
Majestic and Talbot, the whole being under the command of Rear- 
Admiral R. E. Wemyss, C. M .G., M.V.O. At a later date the Battle 
Cruiser Princess! Royal also assisted in securing the convoy s safety. 
The speed of the whole fleet was not great, this being governed by 
the slowest vessel, which could not work up to more than about 10 
knots. 

On board the Alaunia, the fourth ship in the port line, a definite 
routine was at once established, the chief features of which were 
physical training, bayonet work, semaphore signalling and so on. 
Boxing and deck sports were also encouraged, while in the evenings 
lectures and concerts filled in the time till "lights out." 

On October 6th a buzz of excitement was caused by a report 
that the German cruiser Karlsruhe was in sight on the horizon. 
Like so many of its fellows, this report seems to have had no 
foundation whatsoever. Another stir of interest was caused when 
it was learned that a man had gone overboard from the Lapland. 
This individual was picked up by one of the ships that followed and 
was popularly reported to have explained his action on the ground 
that the Lapland had run out of cigarettes and he had hoped to 
get some elsewhere. About this time news of the fall of Antwerp 
was posted, also a false report that Russia was negotiating a separate 
peace and that a battalion of Territorials had suffered heavy losses. 
This latter bulletin, which seems to have been a practical joke, caused 
a good deal of indignation amongst the more serious minded of 
those on board. On October 9th H.M.S. Essex passed through 
the lines of ships at full speed and Admiral Craddock, who was on 
board, signalled good wishes and God speed. Poor Craddock! he 
himself was destined to go down in battle before the men he signalled 
to had ever reached the front. 

One of the problems that caused deep concern to the officers of 
the Contingent was the question of spies. Fear of the much vaunted 
German secret service put officers and men on their guard, with the 
result that, on the Alaunia, two men were arrested for suspicious 
behaviour. These were handed over to the authorities in England 
and were later publicly exonerated. A third man was discovered 
with a list in his possession showing all the chief ports in the British 

[18] 



ENGLAND AND SALISBURY PLAIN 

Isles. Opposite each port was a name, apparently a code word for 
the port in question. For a while this case looked serious, but an 
enquiry disclosed that the whole affair was a lottery on the Alaunia s 
destination. The "code" words proved to be the names of those 
sporting members of the Battalion who had purchased tickets. 
This man, of course, was released on the spot. 

On the evening- of October 13th land was sighted and the fol 
lowing morning the Alaunia steamed into Plymouth Sound. Origin 
ally it had been planned that the whole convoy would dock at 
Southampton, but the presence, or suspected presence, of German 
submarines off Southampton had caused these arrangements to be 
changed. The arrival of the Alaunia, several hours ahead of the 
other ships, was the first indication to the inhabitants of Plymouth 
and Devonport that theirs was to be the honour of welcoming the 
first contingent of troops from overseas. Right royally they rose 
to the occasion. As each ship arrived in port it was greeted by 
whistles, bells and storms of cheering. The local papers in describ 
ing the event insisted that not since Drake defeated the Spanish 
Armada had the old town experienced such a thrill. Now another 
Armada had arrived, greater by far than Spain s, but this time its 
mission was friendly and Plymouth gave it tumultuous welcome. 

If the people on shore experienced a thrill, the men on the ships 
did likewise. What Britisher could sail past the ancient wooden 
war ships that lay at anchor and refuse the tribute of at least a tiny 
shiver down his spine? There they lay in all their glory, a symbol 
of the past and a good omen for the future. Gliding past them, 
the Alaunia proceeded up-stream and came to anchor off Devonport, 
where she was joined a little later by the Royal George, carrying 
the Princess Patricia s Canadian Light Infantry. All day the two 
ships lay side by side and in the evening many friendly visits were 
exchanged. 

The following day, October 15th, a message of welcome from 
Lord Kitchener was read and in the evening disembarkation com 
menced. When this was completed the 13th divided into two 
sections, one 682 strong and the other 472. These made their way 
through the city streets and were everywhere showered with gifts 
and accorded an enthusiastic reception. They entrained at different 
stations at 9.30 and 10.15 p.m. respectively. 

After travelling all night the two sections of the 13th arrived 
at Patney Station at 3 a.m. and marched 10 miles over the rolling 

[19] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

country of Salisbury Plain to camp at West Down South. This 
march, made with full kit, was trying, as the men had had no sleep 
and no breakfast In addition, the nineteen days on board ship 
had softened them considerably. Despite these difficulties the sec 
tions covered the distance in approximately 3 hours and 25 minutes, 
a creditable performance, considering the circumstances, for their 
first march on English soil. 

Ill 

On the arrival of the Canadians in England, command of the 
Division was assumed by Lieut-Gen. E. A. H. Alderson, C.B., a 
distinguished British soldier, who had won an enviable reputation 
in India, South Africa, Egypt and elsewhere. Under his super 
vision the units settled down to routine in the camps of Salisbury 
Plain, 

West Down South, where the Royal Highlanders found them 
selves, was a great contrast to Valcartier. The vast, rolling plains 
afforded as good, or better, facilities for drill, manoeuvres and sham 
battles when dry, but provision for the comfort of the men in the 
matter of showers, water supply and sanitary arrangements was not 
to be compared with what had existed at Valcartier. In addition 
the soil at Valcartier was light, sandy and excellently drained, while 
it is to be feared that the Canadians recollection of Salisbury is 
chiefly one of mud. "Mud and rain," "rain and mud/ 
"more rain and more mud," these phrases run like a re 
frain through all the letters and diaries dealing with the time. 
"This 1 is a God-forsaken hole and we are getting pretty 
sick of it. It is raining again to-day. Nothing but rain, mud and 
then more rain." This extract from a letter, dated October 25th, 
shows that the Contingent was treated to bad weather almost from 
the start. On November 5th another correspondent refers to the 
subject again. "It has rained now for nineteen consecutive days 
and Winnipeg in the old days would be put to shame if it could 
see the mud here. It is making everyone miserable and hindering 
all work." 

In spite of the hindrance of the mud and rain, however, it must 
not be inferred that the units were idle. Routine activities and 
drills were carried on notwithstanding the handicaps. Apart from 
routine, one of the first steps taken by the 13th after settling down 
in camp was to establish friendly relations with the Black Watch. 

[20] 



ENGLAND AND SALISBURY PLAIN 

As has been mentioned, the 13th was affiliated with this famous 
Regiment through the 5th R.H.C. in Montreal. Desiring to pur 
chase kilts, glengarries and badges of the approved Black Watch 
pattern, Col. Loomis detailed Capt. C. J. Smith to proceed to Scot 
land, where these items would be more easily procurable. In ad 
dition Capt. Smith was instructed to convey the Colonel s greetings 
to such officers of the affiliated Regiment as were to be found at 
Regimental Headquarters. Proceeding to Perth Barracks in pur 
suance of these instructions, Capt. Smith records that he was most 
hospitably received by Lieut.-Col. T. M. M. Berkeley and other 
Black Watch officers, while in Dundee Major John Vair presented 
him with 120 copies of a small Regimental History for distribution 
to officers of the 13th and to those men of the Battalion who would 
be interested in Regimental history and tradition. At a later date 
the Marchioness of Tullibardine, who had learned of Capt. Smith s 
visit and its purpose, wrote to him and expressed the wish that she 
be allowed to equip the 13th with khaki hose tops. This offer the 
Battalion accepted, with deep appreciation of Her Ladyship s 
interest. 

On October 22nd the 13th was reorganized into a "double 
company" battalion. Under this system the Battalion consisted of 
four companies instead of eight, that is to say two of the old com 
panies were put together to form one of the new. The command 
of these new companies, Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4, was given respectively 
to Major D. R. McCuaig, Capt. R. H. Jamieson, Capt. T. S. Mor- 
risey and Capt. W. H. Clark-Kennedy. These had as seconds-in- 
command, Capt. L. W. Whitehead, Capt. K. M. Perry, Capt. C. J. 
Smith and Capt. H. F. Walker. The Base Company remained 
under the command of Capt. F. P. Buchanan and temporarily ab 
sorbed those officers of the Battalion who, under the new arrange 
ment, found themselves supernumerary to the authorized strength. 
Each of the new companies was divided into four platoons, under 
a lieutenant, with a platoon-sergeant as second-in-command. Each 
of the platoons in turn was divided into four sections, under the 
command of an N.C.O. This system was abandoned some weeks 
later, but was re-instated before the Battalion left for France and 
remained in force for the duration of the war. 

On the day following the first try-out of the new drill the 
Battalion, along with other units, paraded for inspection by Field- 
Marshal Earl Roberts, V.C. This veteran, than whom none was 

[21] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

more popular, reviewed the troops with care and was accorded a 
warm hearted welcome. 

On October 25th, at a church parade, Gen. Alderson introduced 
himself to the men of the 3rd Brigade and he, too, was heartily 
cheered. Shortly before this he had announced that the "dry" 
canteen system would be done away with and the "wet" canteen, 
customary in the British Army, established. The present book is 
no place in which to discuss the wisdom or otherwise of this move, 
which aroused no small controversy in Canada. Suffice it to say 
that amongst the troops, who, after all, were the people most vitally 
concerned, the move was a popular one. 

Mention of the wet canteen leads at once to the question of the 
general discipline and behaviour of the troops while in England. 
Soon after arriving the 13th had serious trouble in regard to men 
absent without leave. These were invariably Old Countrymen who 
could not resist the temptation to revisit relatives and familiar 
scenes, without waiting for permission to do so. Well supplied 
with money, these men would cut a dash as long as their money 
lasted and then, as soon as it was gone, slip back to camp to accept 
punishment for their misdeeds. Practically all of them turned up 
sooner or later. 

Meanwhile sinister rumours as to the discipline and behaviour 
of the force drifted back to Canada, where they caused no little 
anxiety. That these rumours were grossly exaggerated is now 
known, but that some foundation for them existed there is no at 
tempt to deny. How the situation appeared at the time to an N.C.O. 
in the 13th is summed up in the following extract from a letter. 
"In reply to your letter, I will try to give you some dope, taking 
the points you raise in order. First, discipline in ours. This is 
varied. It is not good compared with the Regulars, but it is quite 
good all the same, and I have never yet heard of a man refusing to 
obey an officer s order. The Canadians as a whole have a frightful 
name all over the country for bad discipline, but that is earned by 
not saluting when on leave. But after all these things are not the 
important part of discipline. What is important is to get orders 
obeyed and that is done very well indeed." 

This whole question of discipline and behaviour caused, at a 
later date, some little feeling between the 1st Division and the men 
of the Contingents that followed. Some few of these latter adopted 
a "holier than thou" attitude and were wont to reproach the 

[22] 



ENGLAND AND SALISBURY PLAIN 

"originals" with the bad name they had left behind them. Tradition 
has it that on one occasion a war worn veteran back in England on 
leave listened patiently to just such a tale of woe. "I can tell you," 
said the spotless newcomer, eyeing the veteran with disgust, we 
are having a hard time to live down the reputation you fellows left 
in England." "Oh well," replied the veteran, cheer up, you ll 
have a damn sight worse time living UP to the reputation we have 
in France." 

To return, however, to those autumn days on Salisbury Plain! 
On November 2nd the Battalion paraded for a full service-dress 
rehearsal of a review to be held two days later by His Majesty the 
King. The weather was atrocious, but all were anxious that the 
Division should make a good showing at the royal review, so the 
rehearsal continued in the pouring rain for over three hours. 

On November 4th the Battalion paraded for- the inspection 
previously rehearsed. On this occasion the weather was all that 
could be desired. His Majesty, who was accompanied by Her 
Majesty the Queen, also by Lord Roberts and Lord Kitchener, 
inspected the Division and had many of the officers presented to 
him. Afterwards he complimented Gen. Alderson on the showing 
the Division had made. 

Following the royal review came a period of some weeks during 
which the activities of the Battalion call for no particular comment. 
The weather continued to be bad and work was carried on with 
difficulty, but, in spite of all, the spirit of the men was good and 
progress in training made. As is always the case when large bodies 
of human beings are gathered together, strange rumours sprang up 
from nowhere, flourished and were believed for a season, only to 
fade away and be forgotten in the light of official denial or official 
silence. One of the most popular and persistent of these myths was 
that things were going so well in France that the War Office dare 
not publish the details for fear of stopping recruiting. Mad as this 
report seems in retrospect, it was widely believed at the time. One 
strategist in the 13th quotes it in a letter home and comments on the 
probable nature of the concealed successes. Tn my opinion/ says 
he, "they have probably cut the Germans communications in 
Belgium." Unfortunately this opinion was wide of the mark. Four 
years were to intervene before the communications in question were 
even seriously endangered. 

As November drew to a close there occurred several small in- 

[23] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

cidents of interest to officers and men of the Battalion. Lieut. 
Gerald Lees received his captaincy as a reward for his hard work 
and efficient handling of his men, while Lieut. E. M. Sellon, for 
similar reasons, was appointed Battalion Scout Officer. Earlier in 
the month Lieut. L de V. Chipman had been appointed Intelligence 
Officer. 

On the 23rd of the month Col. Loomis detailed Major V. C. 
Buchanan and Capt. C. J. Smith to proceed to Aldershot to discuss 
with officers of the 9th Service Battalion, Black Watch, some further 
details of Regimental custom and equipment. This trip was under 
taken in a Ford car, a gift to the 13th from Lieut.-Col. Ross of the 
Parent Regiment in Montreal. The road proved somewhat longer 
than the envoys had expected, but they reached Aldershot eventually 
and were there most cordially received. 

On November 29th the Battalion took part in a Divisional field 
day, which Gen. Alderson himself controlled by signals on a hunts 
man s horn. This method of conveying messages was new to 
Canadians and caused no little amusement to the rank and file. It 
worked well, however, and obviated the introduction of a more 
elaborate system. 

St. Andrew s Day, November 30th, was observed in the Battalion 
by special privileges and by a visit from the Colonel to the Sergeants 
Mess, where he partook of the hospitality provided. In the Officers 
Mess flags were hung for decoration, the Lion of Scotland occupying 
the central place. Here the celebration, it is recorded, was in true 
Scottish style and this can the more readily be believed from the 
fact that the diarist whose account is quoted has carefully dated his 
entry, "November 31st." 

With the advent of December weather conditions, which pre 
viously had left much to be desired, became well nigh intolerable. 
Under the influence of almost incessant rain the camp turned into 
a night-mare of mud, thick, clinging mud from which there was no 
escape and in which the troops lived, ate, slept and had their being. 
Towards the middle of the month it became clear that the health of 
the men could not hold out under such miserable conditions. Ac 
cordingly, on orders being received, the 13th struck camp at West 
Down South on December 18th and proceeded to huts at Larkhill. 
Living conditions were greatly improved by this move. Outside the 
rain continued and the mud was as bad as ever, but the huts were 
reasonably comfortable and afforded the troops, as well as a place to 

[24] 



ENGLAND AND SALISBURY PLAIN 

sleep, an opportunity to dry their sodden clothes. Each hut was 
about 60 feet long and 20 feet wide, with one corner walled off for 
the sergeants. Approximately 40 men formed the complement of 
a hut, so that each man had room for his bedding and a little to 
spare, with a wide passage down the centre, this being kept clear 
according to one authority, "so that the drunks will not walk on 
anyone." 

Soon after settling down at Larkhill the Battalion began to pre 
pare for the Christmas and New Year s festivities. The first, and 
perhaps the most important, feature of these was that every man in 
the unit was granted leave at some time during the festive season, 
this leave varying from four to seven days in proportion to its 
distance from the actual dates of the two holidays. Thus half the 
Battalion, or thereabouts, was away from camp at Christmas, while 
the other half was in camp for Christmas, but away for New Year s. 
The two celebrations were similar in character, only the personnel 
being altered. On Christmas, dinner was, of course, the great event 
of the day. Each company prepared its own programme and, as is 
the custom in Highland regiments, officers dined with their respec 
tive companies. Col. Loomis, accompanied by the Sergeant-Ma j or 
and piped by the Pipe Major, visited every mess and at each was 
accorded a rousing reception. Following his departure, each party 
carried on with its pre-arranged programme till well on in the 
afternoon. In the evening the men were free to seek such recrea 
tion as the camp provided and as suited their individual tastes. 

During the early part of January, 1915, the work of the 13th was 
largely confined to making roads and improving conditions around 
the camp. This work was well in hand by the 10th of the month 
and the Battalion was accordingly enabled to resume its interrupted 
course of training. Towards the middle of the month great en 
thusiasm was aroused by the announcement that the Canadian 
Division would proceed to France early in February. Simul 
taneously orders were received for the Battalion to adopt the double 
company formation once more. This formation had been put into 
effect in the previous October, as already described, but had been 
abandoned in favour of the old eight company system some weeks 
later. Now it was restored and this time permanently. 

With the prospect of active service not far away, the troops 
buckled down to work with ardour and enthusiasm. Discipline im 
proved at once and several absentees, who apparently had kept in 

[25] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

touch with developments, rejoined of their own accord and accepted 
without a murmur the heavy fines and other punishments awarded. 

At about this time an outbreak of spinal meningitis in the camp 
threatened to postpone the date of the Division s crossing to France. 
Prompt measures, however, checked the disease, but not before 
several deaths had occurred. In the 13th three men came down 
with meningitis and all three died. The only other death in the 
Battalion during its stay in England was that of a man who was 
killed by falling off a cart while absent from the camp without 
leave. 

On February 1st the 13th took part in a Brigade route march 
to Stonehenge, returning to Larkhill about noon. At 2 p.m. Col. 
R. E. W. Turner, V.C., D.S.O., inspected the Battalion and trans 
port and afterwards expressed his satisfaction as to the unit s 
discipline and general appearance. Two days later Lieut-Col. 
Loomis gave the Battalion a very careful inspection, in preparation 
for the second visit of His Majesty the King. Previous to this, 
orders had been received that the Division was to keep itself in 
readiness to move at short notice, so it was generally realized that 
just as the King had come on November 4th to bid the Contingent 
welcome he now came on February 4th to bid it farewell. 

On the morning of the day in question the 13th paraded at 
9.30 o clock and proceeded to a position north of Bustard Camp, 
where the review was to be held. Soon afterwards the royal train 
steamed into a temporary platform close at hand, where His Majesty 
wasi met by General Alderson. As on the occasion of his previous 
visit, the King was accompanied by Field-Marshal Lord Kitchener 
and a numerous staff. After an inspection of the troops the royal 
party returned to the station platform and witnessed a march past 
of the whole Division. On this occasion a great improvement in the 
bearing of the troops was noted. At previous reviews they had 
made a good showing for citizen soldiers ; now their whole deport 
ment closely approximated that of well drilled regulars. Obviously 
the four trying months on Salisbury Plain under the guidance of 
General Alderson s skilled hand had not been entirely wasted. At 
the conclusion of the march past the troops of the Division lined the 
railway tracks and, in appreciation of the honour the King had paid 
them, gave the royal train as it steamed away a heartfelt roar of 
cheers. 

For some days after the royal review the Battalion carried on 

[26] 



ENGLAND AND SALISBURY PLAIN 

with routine training, waiting every minute to hear that orders to 
proceed to France had arrived. Divine Service for the whole unit 
was held in the Y.M.C.A. hut on February 7th, this marking the 
final appearance of Capt. A. M. Gordon as Chaplain of the Bat 
talion, he having transferred to another unit. During his time with 
the 13th Capt. Gordon had worked untiringly for the welfare of 
the men and more particularly in the interests of those who were 
sick. Remembering his unselfish devotion to duty, the Battalion 
bade him farewell with sincere regret. 

On February 10th the eagerly awaited orders for departure were 
at last given out. During the forenoon Brig.-Gen. R. E. W. Turner, 
V.C., D.S.O. inspected the Battalion and photographs were taken 
of various groups and individuals. In the afternoon all ranks were 
busy clearing up the camp and preparing kit. In the case of officers 
kit was strictly limited to 35 pounds and Major E. C. Newsworthy, 
presiding at a scale, saw to it that this limit was not exceeded. 
The men s kit and personal equipment was as follows:- 1 pr. 
trews, 1 pr. drawers, 1 undershirt, 1 shirt, 2 towels, 1 hold-all, con 
taining soap, razor, etc., 1 balaclava, 3 prs. socks, 1 pr. boots, 1 
house-wife and 1 greatcoat. In addition they carried strapped out 
side, 1 blanket, 1 rubber sheet, 1 mess tin and 1 haversack, the last 
named containing a day s ration, tobacco and so forth. Added to 
all these was a rifle and 150 rounds of ammunition, so that the 
whole weighed not much below 80 Ibs. As one man tersely put it, 
"Once in the army you become a blinking pack mule." 

At 7.30 p.m. the Left Half of the Battalion, under Lieut-Col. 
Loomis, paraded and marched out of Larkhill to Amesbury Station, 
followed by the Right Half, under Major Norsworthy, half an hour 
later. The men were in great spirits and rejoiced to think that the 
long experience of Salisbury mud was at an end. Worse might lie 
before them, but this probability they were quite willing, even eager, 
to face. For what other purpose had they come thousands of miles 
across the sea? At Amesbury a number of relatives and friends 
had gathered to see the men off and wish them good luck. Two 
trains had been provided for the troops and the first of these pulled 
out about 11 p.m., the other following some twenty minutes later. 
No one knew for certain at what port the Battalion would embark, 
but the consensus of opinion at Amesbury Station was that the two 
trains were headed for Southampton. This seemed the most logical 
conclusion, but war takes little account of logic and soon after leav- 

[27] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

ing Amesbury those on board the trains became aware from the 
general westerly direction they were taking that reasoning had failed 
them once more and that, wherever they were going, it was not to 
Southampton. 



[28] 



CHAPTER III 

Over to France and Into Action 

Give us a name to stir the blood 

With a warmer glow and a swifter flood, 

At the touch of a courage that knows not fear, 

A name like the sound of a trumpet, clear, 

I give you France ! 

HENRY VAN DYKE. 



EARLY on the morning- of February llth the men of the 13th 
Battalion discovered that Avonmouth was their destination. 
When this port was reached, somewhat before dawn, they 
immediately detrained and started to board the s.s. Novian, which 
was awaiting them. Embarkation of men. horses and wagons was 
smartly carried out, after which the men were allowed to get some 
sleep. 

In addition to the 31 officers and 1,002 men of the 13th, the 
Novian carried the Divisional Ammunition Column, with its com 
plement of over 200 horses. Accommodation was naturally not to 
be compared with that which the 13th had enjoyed on board the 
Alaunia. Three small, 2-berth cabins were available for the senior 
officers, while the juniors made their beds on the floor of the little 
dining saloon. The men were huddled in three holds, packed more 
or less like the proverbial sardines, while between decks were the 
horses. 

All that day the ship remained in dock and it was extraordinary 
how many of the officers found urgent reasons to justify leave 
ashore. This was granted in most cases, there being no reason why 
those not actually on duty should be retained on board. Similar 
privileges could not be extended to the men, who stayed on board 
sleeping, eating, playing cards and otherwise amusing themselves. 

In company with other transports and under the protection of 
destroyers, the Novian sailed at dawn on February 12th, shaping a 

[29] 



i 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

course towards the Lizard and the Bay of Biscay. In the evening 
a strong wind sprang up and by morning on the 13th this had 
developed into a rousing gale, which compelled the torpedo boats 
to seek shelter and forced Captain McCormack, of the Novian, to 
turn his bows into the wind to lessen the roll of the ship, which 
was endangering the lives of the horses. The decision to change 
course and proceed out to sea was wise and seaman-like, but its 
necessity was unfortunate from the point of view of the troops. 
Sea-sickness, that scourge of the ocean, had laid hold on these latter 
and, being no respecter of persons, was having its way with officers 
and men alike. Down in the crowded holds the scene was one to 
beggar description. Nine tenths of the men were ill, desperately 
ill, and no; one could help them in their misery. In the dining 
saloon, where the officers were quartered, matters were only 
relatively better. On deck the armed guard of 12 men, posted to 
fire on any hostile submarine, stuck grimly to their task, but were 
too sick to fire a shot with any chance of hitting their target. 
Limply they hung over their rifles, coming to attention with a feeble 
attempt at a click when an officer, himsel f too sick to notice whether 
they clicked or not, paid them a formal visit. And still the ship 
headed determinedly out to sea! One company commander, re 
turning from a tour on deck, found his berth occupied by a very 
miserable subaltern, whose distress had driven him to seek some 
refuge other than the crowded floor of the dining saloon. Pitying 
his junior s condition, the company commander waived possession 
of the berth for several hours, but at last he himself fell a victim 
and was forced to claim his right 

On the following morning the wind still blew with terrific force, 
but after lunch it abated to some degree and the ship once more 
turned towards land. During the afternoon Capt. G. E. McCuaig, 
with a fatigue party, attempted to get some of the men up on deck 
for a breath of fresh air, but without appreciable results. The holds 
were in an awful condition, but the men were quite too sick to care. 
All that they asked was to be left alone. 

During the voyage two men, of the 13th, who had deserted from 
the camp at Lairkhill, turned up as stowaways on the boat. How 
they had learned from what port and on what boat the Battalion 
would sail was a puzzle, for, as will be remembered, even the 
officers of the Battalion had been in ignorance of these details when 
the unit marched from Salisbury Plain. Through the mysterious 

[30] 



FRANCE AND INTO ACTION 

channels of information at the disposal of what might be called 
the "semi under-world" these men had kept in touch with the 
Battalion s movements and, on the unit s being ordered to France, 
had stowed away as the surest method of not being left 
behind. A court of enquiry held on board ship decided that, as 
a punishment for their desertion, they should be handed over to the 
military authorities in France, to be dealt with as the latter should 
see fit. Accordingly they were held under close arrest until France 
was reached and then handed over to the A.M.L.O. The latter, 
however, promptly handed them back again, assuring the Battalion 
that he was not interested in what he called its private affairs. 
This action on the part of the A.M.L.O. was viewed by the stow 
aways with ill concealed delight. Though well aware that they 
would be severely punished, the decision meant that the Battalion 
must take them on its strength and carry them wherever it went. 
As they had deserted to escape the monotony of camp life and not 
to avoid the dangers of active service, they faced the certainty of 
punishment as infinitely preferable to the alternative of being- left 
behind. 

Meanwhile the Novian was still being tossed by the gale, but 
this had lessened appreciably and the vessel was making good time 
towards land. Morning of the 15th found the ship slipping into 
the outer harbour of St. Nazaire. Owing to congestion at the 
docks, she anchored in the outer harbour and remained there till 
late in the afternoon, much to the annoyance of officers and men, 
who had recovered from sea-sickness and were impatient to set 
foot on the soil of France. 

II 

Finally, a berth having been cleared, the Novian weighed anchor 
and crept through the narrow entrance into the inner harbour and 
to the dock, where a great crowd of French civilians and poilus gave 
her a noisy welcome. Oranges and other articles were hurled up 
onto the decks in token of good will, while the men of the 13th, 
not to be outdone in friendliness, tossed down coins and packages 
of cigarettes. The French soldiers, with their long bayonets and 
picturesque dress, were objects of respectful interest to the Cana 
dians. It is more than probable that these particular poilus were 
lines of communication troops and had never seen the front, but 
to the newcomers they typified the men of the Marne and the Aisne 

[31] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

and the cordial welcome they extended assumed all the importance 
that similar attentions from a sixth former mean to a new boy at 
school. 

As soon as the vessel was docked, preparations to unload the 
horses and wagons began, but just at this moment the stevedores of 
St. Nazaire, who had general charge of the arrangements, went on 
something resembling a strike. Nothing deterred, the Highlanders 
promptly undertook the work themselves. Amongst such a large 
body of men individuals are always to be found with some know 
ledge of almost any subject on earth. In this instance enquiry 
produced a couple of experts to work the donkey engine, which 
was soon hoisting the wagons out of the hold. Capt. T. S. Morrisey 
commanded the fatigue which had this task in hand and which, by 
working hard all night, accomplished it satisfactorily quite as soon 
as the stevedores could have done. Meanwhile another party, under 
command of Lieut. J. O. Hastings, was seeing to the landing of 
the horses. This operation was attended by some difficulty, as the 
horses, stiff and groggy after their knocking about at sea, had to 
be led down a steep incline from the level of the deck to the shore. 
Many of them slipped and rolled down, but this contingency had 
been foreseen and a pile of hay placed at the bottom to soften the 
final bump. Strange as it may seem, none of the horses was in 
jured, nor did any of them seem to mind their falls. Perhaps their 
satisfaction in feeling firm ground beneath their feet once more 
outweighed any slight inconvenience they might suffer in reaching 
it. 

Before the disembarkation of the Battalion proper, which took 
place the next afternoon, all ranks had issued to them the British 
sheep skin trench coat. At first the men were proud of these and 
wandered about with all the conscious importance of peacocks on 
parade, but eventually the fact that the coats were possessed of a 
diabolical smell could no longer be ignored. From the moment 
that this unfortunate attribute was discovered the popularity of 
the coats waned. What became of them is not clear. What be 
comes of unpopular issues in the Army seldom is clear. They 
vanish like snow banks in the spring, imperceptibly at first, but none 
the less certainly for that and, when they have gone, no man can 
ever tell the exact manner of their going. 

Following on the heels of a strong advance party, under the 
command of Capt. W. H. Clark-Kennedy, the Battalion disembarked 

[32] 



FRANCE AND INTO ACTION 

from the Novian and lined up on the dock for the march through 
the streets of St. Nazaire to the railway station. Before giving the 
order to march, Lieut.-Col. Loomis called for three cheers for 
Captain McCormack and the officers of the Novian who, throughout 
the unexpectedly prolonged voyage, had done all that lay in their 
power to make things as comfortable as possible for both officers 
and men. In spite of sea-sickness, these efforts on the part of the 
sailor officers had not been unappreciated by the Highlanders and 
the cheers were given with a right good will. 

Seven o clock in the evening found the Battalion at St. Nazaire 
Station, entraining for the long journey to the front. A delay was 
experienced in rounding up a few individuals who had seized the 
opportunity to slip away and accept hospitality from the French 
civilians, but this was not serious and shortly after 7 p.m. the 
journey commenced. 

For two days and two nights the train crept on its way, with 
occasional brief stops to give the troops a chance to get some food 
and to stretch their legs. This latter arrangement was almost as 
necessary as food, for the cars were of the typical box variety, 
known to fame as "40 hommes, 8 chevaux," and allowed no space 
for even the most limited exercise. The route lay through Nantes, 
Rouen, Boulogne, Calais and St. Omer, thence to Hazebrouck, which 
was reached at 6.30 p.m. on February 19th. 

The men were stiff and sore after the journey, but detrained 
smartly and started off without delay on a seven mile march to 
Fletre. At Caestre Capt. Clark-Kennedy met the Battalion and the 
march to Fletre was continued under his guidance. Rain was 
falling heavily by this time and the night was bitterly cold, but the 
men s pulses were quickened and stirred by the fact that ahead of 
them the black sky was lit up from time to time by brilliant flashes, 
while low, but unmistakably, came the rumble of the distant guns. 
The front, that legendary region of unspoken hopes and fears, was 
now within sight and hearing. 

On reaching Fletre billets were secured and the men turned 
in with as little delay as possible. Curiosity as to their surroundings 
would undoubtedly possess them in the morning; at the moment 
they were tired and wet and delighted to get a chance to sleep. 
Quiet, therefore, settled over the billets at a comparatively early 
hour. 

Four days and five nights were spent at Fletre, the men occupied 

[33] 
3 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

in preparing themselves for the trenches. At this time the whole 
front from Switzerland to the sea was practically deadlocked. The 
great battles of the previous autumn had long since died down 
and the clash of armies that would inevitably occur in the spring 
had not yet begun. Trench warfare was the order of the day 
and it was for this type of hostilities that the Highlanders made 
ready. On February 20th the Battalion was inspected at Caestre 
by the Commander-in-Chief, Field-Marshal Sir John French, who, 
in the little speech that customarily follows such events, expressed 
himself as well pleased with the Battalion s general showing. On 
the following day the 13th, in company with the 14th, Royal 
Montreal Regiment, paraded for Divine Service in a field just near 
Fletre Church, Canon Scott, from Quebec, officiating. 

At 8 a.m. on February 23rd the Battalion, acting as advance 
guard to the Brigade, marched from Fletre to Armentieres. This 
town, which was reached at 2.30 p.m., was only about three miles 
behind the actual front, but in spite of this, shops and cafes were 
open and there were many civilians about the streets. This was 
the first shelled town that the 13th had seen and the men were 
much interested in the damage the shells had caused. Billets for 
the men were provided in the civic workhouse, while the officers 
occupied houses immediately opposite. 

On arriving in Armentieres, the 13th Battalion was attached for 
instructional purposes to the 16th British Infantry Brigade, under 
the command of Brig.-Gen. Ingleby-Williams. This Brigade was 
composed of battalions from the Buffs, the York and Lanes., the 
Leicesters and the Shropshire Light Infantry and was holding a 
line of trenches on both sides of the Lille Road, about three miles 
S.E. of the town. 

Brig.-Gen. Ingleby-Williams inspected the 13th in Armentieres 
on the afternoon of February 24th and subsequently it was arranged 
that two companies of the Royal Highlanders should go into the 
line that same night for their first tour of instruction. In accord 
ance with these arrangements, No. 1 Company, under Major D. R. 
McCuaig and No. 2 Company, under Capt. R. H. Jamieson, paraded 
at 6.15 and 6.30 p.m. respectively and proceeded into the line, guided 
by men of the 16th Brigade provided for the purpose. During this 
movement the Battalion suffered its first casualty, Private G. W. 
Eadle, of No. 2 Coy., being caught by a burst of fire and instantly 

killed. 

[34] 



FRANCE AND INTO ACTION 

On February 25th No. 3 Company, which as the result of the 
reorganization due to the double company system was now under 
Major V. C. Buchanan, and No. 4 Company, under Capt. W. H. 
Clark-Kennedy, were given a similar short tour of instruction under 
one of the Imperial battalions. For some days after this one or 
another company of the 13th was always receiving instruction in the 
line, while the remaining companies, billeted in Armentieres, were 
engaged in digesting the information already gained. Each com 
pany was given three front line tours. 

Describing the experience in the line, an N.C.O. writes, in part, 
as follows:- "We went in first with the Leicesters. We had a 
good place to enter the line, most of the way being protected by 
breastworks. When we got in I stuck my head over to see the 

enemy s trenches and I certainly ducked it again pretty quickly 

they seemed right on top of us and were really only 60 yards away. 
We came out at 5 a.m. and that same night went to other trenches, 
this time to those occupied by the York and Lanes. We had a 
harder time getting in, as the communication trench was filled with 
water and we had to keep in the open. There was a full moon 
shining and the Germansi spotted us and gave us a regular hail of 
bullets. Our fellows acted splendidly under fire and we got in 
without anyone being hit, much to the surprise of the Yorks, who 
had been watching us. These trenches were even better than the 
first ones, being 400 yards from the enemy. We stayed there 24 
hours and coming out the moon was hidden, so we were quite 
safe." 

It was really marvelous how much the Battalion learned in 
these short tours. Officers and men alike were as keen as could be 
and the Imperial troops were delighted to teach all that they them 
selves knew. The system of instruction was to attach a section of 
the Canadians to a platoon of the English and for everyone then 
simply to carry on. In this way the newcomers learned trench 
routine. Almost before they were aware of it, they knew about 
the posting of sentries, the screening of fires, the establishment of 
listening posts, the issuing of rum and so forth. In addition they 
acquired much information about ration parties, wire cutters, loop 
holes, ammunition, engineering material, bombs, bayonets, trench 
sanitation and all the scores of things that are of vital import when 
men gather in opposing ditches to do one another to death. 

For the most part the trenches in which the 13th received their 

[35] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

first instructions were very quiet ones. They were of the breast 
work variety, that is to say built up from the ground, not dug 
down into it, and were comparatively dry and comfortable. All 
these favourable circumstances contributed to the rapidity with 
which the Battalion learned its lessons, but more important still 
was the kindly attitude of its Imperial hosts. Of the courtesy 
received at the hands of officers and men of the 16th Infantry 
Brigade, the Highlanders have preserved a lively appreciation. 
While this applies without exception to all units of the Brigade, 
particular pains in instructing the new troops would seem to have 
been taken by Major Bayley, Lieut. Sim and Company Sergt. -Major 
G. P. Munsen, of the York and Lanes, the services of these officers 
being gratefully acknowledged in the official diary of the 13th 
Battalion. 

Reference to the Battalion s official diary tempts the historian 
to comment on a curious coincidence that came to his notice while 
checking the diary over. In February, 1915, the officer entrusted 
with the task of keeping this record makes his entries with metic 
ulous care until he comes to February 27th. On the 27th he has 
neatly written the word "J une >" instead of "February," and on that 
date, June 27th, he was killed in action sixteen months later. In 
recording this fact there is no desire to endow it with undue sig 
nificance. The entry is as described and the coincidence is of 
interest, or of no interest at all, depending entirely on the individual 
point of view. 

During the time that the 13th was receiving instruction from the 
units of the 16th Brigade, the remaining battalions of the Canadian 
Division were being similarly trained by other formations belonging 
to the 3rd British Corps, then commanded by Lieut.-Gen. Sir Wil 
liam Pulteney. How carefully their behaviour undier fire was 
being watched the Canadians little guessed, but it is a fact that keen 
eyes made note of what happened and reported at length to higher 
powers who required the information lest new and inexperienced 
troops be entrusted with tasks beyond their strength. To the fact 
that these reports were highly favourable, Sir John French, in 
his despatch of April 5th, has given witness. 

Accordingly in the early days of March it was announced that 
th e Canadian Division was considered fit to take over a section of 
the line. Little time was lost in putting this move into effect. On 
March 3rd the 13th Battalion formed up in the Mairie Square in 

[36] 



FRANCE AND INTO ACTION 

Armentieres and marched, via Erquinghem and Bac St. Maur, to 
Sailly-sur-la-Lys, thence to billets in Rouge de Bout. These billets 
were in shell torn barns and were not comfortable, but the troops, 
excited by the prospect of holding a line of their own, were in no 
mood to find fault. 

On the following morning the Battalion paraded in a field and 
was addressed by Lieut.-Gen. E. A. H. Alderson, G.O.C. the 
Division. Briefly, Gen. Alderson referred to the work that lay 
ahead and frankly he told the Battalion what was expected of it. 
Summed up, his instruction to the Highlanders was that, no matter 
what happened, they must hold the trenches entrusted to them re 
gardless of the cost. 

Meanwhile the position to be held by the Canadians had been 
selected and relief of the 7th British Division was actually under 
way. This move brought the Canadian Division into the line in a 
position extending roughly in a north easterly direction from the 
Sailly-Fromelles Road to the Touquet-Bridoux Road, with an over 
lap of some hundreds of yards at either end. On the left of the 
Canadians was the 19th Brigade of the 6th British Division and on 
their right the 15th Brigade of the 8th British Division, so that 
for their first experience in a line of their own, their flanks were 
held by troops both tried and true. 

On the night of March 6th the 13th Battalion moved up into the 
line, replacing the 16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish, which had 
previously taken over from the British. Nos. 1, 2 and 3 Companies 
went into the front line, while No. 4 Coy. was held in Battalion 
Reserve a short distance back. The front line in this locality was 
not a trench line in the generally accepted sense of the term, but 
rather an irregular series of trenches and strong posts linked to 
gether to form a front. The Battalion occupied this line for three 
days and did a great deal of work, in conjunction with the Engineers, 
in repairing parapets and digging communication trenches, with a 
view to making the isolated posts more accessible. This work, of 
course, was done at night, to take advantage of the protection that 
darkness afforded. That the Battalion was new to trench life was 
evidenced by several incidents during the tour. On one occasion 
Lieut.-Col. Loomis, while making an inspection of the posts at 
night, was horrified to notice that his guide was calmly smoking a 
cigarette, the glowing end of which invited disaster from the 
German trenches across the way. A blast of wrath descended on 

[37] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

the head of this luckless wight and no doubt convinced him that 
the orders regarding this particular offence were not a mere 
formality. 

During the three days of the tour the Battalion was subjected 
to sporadic shelling and fairly heavy rifle fire. No officers were 
hit, although Lieut. C. B. Pitblado had a close call when a bullet, 
missing his head by the fraction of an inch, tore its way through 
his glengarry. The men of the Battalion were not so fortunate. 
Privates A. T. Knight, G. Townsend, J. A. McConochie, J. Mon- 
tanelli and J. B. Twamley being killed on March 7th and Private 
J. Fowler on March 8th. 

On the night of the 9th the Battalion was relieved and marched 
back to billets at Point de la Justice, in Divisional Reserve. Here 
the unit was held for several days, pending the outcome of the 
Battle of Neuve Chapelle, the roar of which was distinctly heard 
from the south. Had this British attack proved a success, the 
result would have been to involve the Canadian Division in the 
advance, but this consequence was not attained. 

On March 13th the Battalion re-entered the trenches for another 
3-day tour. The weather was all that could be desired and at 
nights a great deal of work was done in strengthening the position 
and building protection against enfilade fire. Owing to the peculiar 
nature of the front line the problem of enfilade was annoying. On 
one occasion five men in a post towards the right front were simul 
taneously wounded by fire of this description, Piper D. Lawson 
dying of his wounds shortly after. Four other privates were killed 
during the tour and several wounded. 

What casualties were inflicted on the Germans is, of course, 
unknown, but testimony that the Canadians endeavoured to make 
themselves a nuisance is given in the following letter : "We had 
one game which annoyed the Germans very much. They cook on 
regular stoves, with chimneys and all. In the morning we could 
see the smoke rising and another corporal and myself would get 
at a loop hole each, with a third man with a periscope to watch re 
sults. We would then cut the top off their sandbags and scatter 
dirt all over them as well as over their breakfast. Also we would 
plunk their chimney on the chance of a ricochet." 

At the extreme left of the Battalion front was a stream, marking 
the boundary between the 3rd and 2nd Brigades. This little brook 
provided excellent water and on one occasion, to quote another 

[38] 



FRANCE AND INTO ACTION 

letter, "a couple of fellows were down getting a supply of water 
when one of them saw a fish in the stream and flopped it out. An 
eighteen inch pike caught in a trench ! - the best fish story I ve 
ever heard, but absolutely true. I know, because I had some of 
the fish for dinner, and it was fine." 

At the conclusion of the tour the 13th was relieved and proceeded 
to billets in Rue du Bois. Here the Battalion rested for several 
days, "rested" being used in the Army sense, where almost any 
change of work is called a rest. 

On the night of the 19th the Battalion moved up once more. 
A feature of the tour that followed was the demolition of an ad 
vanced post, known as No. 6, by a party under the command of 
Capt. C. J. Smith. This post, which had become valueless owing 
to improvements in the trenches behind it, was only about 250 feet 
from the German line, so that the work of demolition had to be 
carried out very quietly. By means of a chain of men lying in the 
mud, materials were passed up and the job completed in two nights 
work. To the credit of all concerned this was accomplished without 
a casualty. During the four day tour casualties were light, although 
a few men were wounded and Private A. Auld killed. 

Relief of the Battalion took place on the 23rd and the next day 
the men enjoyed a bath and change of underclothing at Bac St. 
Maur. On the afternoon of the 26th the Battalion marched seven 
miles to reserve billets near Estaires. During the march it is 
recorded that a new song, afterwards very popular, made its first 
appearance : 

"I want to go home, I want to go home 

The Germans shoot dum-dums, I don t like their roar, 

I don t want to go to the front any more, 

Oh my! I don t want to die 
I want to go home." 

This little ditty, with many variations, improvements and local 
touches, remained in vogue throughout the whole war. 

For eleven days the 13th remained at Estaires, busily engaged 
in drilling, route marching and practices of all kinds. On the 
afternoon of March 29th a party of 200 men paraded under Capts. 
K. M. Perry, C. J. Smith and H. F. Walker and was conveyed in 
wagons to a point south of Wangerie, which is due north of Neuve 

[391 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Chapelle. Here each man was provided with a pick and shovel 
and the party was put to work digging assembly trenches for a 
projected attack. This work was urgent and the men were kept 
hard at it till 1 a.m., when they were succeeded by a similar party 
from the 14th Battalion. 

On April 3rd the Highlanders held a sports day, the scene of 
the contests being a large field close to the Battalion billets. A 
varied programme was run off in which Private Whetter, of the 
Machine Gun Section, secured the prize for the best aggregate 
score. No. 2 Coy. won the tug-of-war. On the following day the 
Battalion paraded for Divine Service in Estaires and on the 6th 
it was inspected by the Commanding Officer. On this occasion the 
men wore for the first time an issue of khaki aprons, a gift to the 
Battalion from W. M. Mitchell, Esq., of Bristol, England. 

The next day the Battalion paraded at 6.20 a.m. and marched 16 
miles to billets in Terdeghem, a village near the town of Cassel. 
Here, on the morning of the 10th, the 3rd Brigade was inspected 
by General Sir H. Smith-Dorrien, G.O.C. the Second British Army, 
of which the Canadian Division was now a part. General Smith- 
Dorrien complimented the officers of the Brigade on the work that 
the Division had already accomplished and added that the Canadians 
were soon to proceed to a lively part of the line. Just how lively the 
line in question was to prove the General himself had probably never 
imagined. 



40 



CHAPTER IV 

The Second Battle of Ypres 

Tower of Ypres, a little slept your glory 
Lips again are busy with your name 
Ypres again is famous in our story 
Ypres of Flanders, wrapt in blood and flame. 

EVERARD OWEN. 
I 

ON April 15th, the Royal Highlanders commenced the march 
towards that "lively" area of which Gen. Smith-Dorrien had 
spoken. From the direction taken it soon became obvious 
that the Battalion was headed for some part of the famous Ypres 
Salient, which, even at that comparatively early date, possessed an 
evil and sinister reputation. 

Marching from Terdeghem after lunch, the 13th proceeded a 
distance of about six miles to Abeele, and billeted for the night. In 
the morning the Battalion moved back to a point where motor 
busses awaited it. These London busses, still bearing the signs 
and advertisements of pre-war days, provided the men of the Bat 
talion with much amusement. Those unfortunates whose avoirdu 
pois seemed a little excessive had their attention called to the 
benefits they would derive if only they would wear Somebody-or- 
other s weight reducing corsets. In turn the brawny amongst the 
rank and file pleaded with their tormentors to use Someone-else s 
Malted Milk, which the advertisement promised, "Makes Puny Men 
Strong." 

Proceeding through Poperinghe, the omnibuses conveyed the 
13th to Vlamertinghe, where the Battalion disembarked and 
marched through Ypres to St. Jean. Here three companies of the 
Highlanders went into billets as Brigade Reserve, No. 4 Coy. pro 
ceeding to St. Julien as Brigade Support. 

Three days were passed in this location, during which prepara 
tions were made for taking over a part of the line. Owing to St. 
Jean being under direct observation from the enemy, the men were 
confined to billets during the day and devoted their time to care 
of rifles and equipment, to writing letters, playing cards and so on. 

[41] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

On the night of Wednesday, April 21st, the 13th Battalion moved 
up into the line and took over a series of breastwork trenches from 
the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, the men little dream 
ing as they accomplished the relief that they were about to write 
a glorious page in Canadian history. Apart from an unusually 
severe shelling of Ypres during the afternoon, nothing had indicated 
that behind the German lines a blow was being prepared such as 
had never fallen in civilized warfare, and one which its originators 
hoped would carry them victoriously to Calais and the English 
Channel. As has been stated, however, no sign of all this had 
appeared when the Highlanders took over from the R.M.R. The 
night as a matter of fact was almost suspiciously quiet. 

In view of what happened the next day, it is necessary that the 
situation in which the Battalion found itself be described and the 
disposition of the companies made clear. The Canadian Division 
held a line, 4250 yards in length, extending in a north-westerly 
direction from, the Ypres-Roulers Railway to a point some fifty 
yards beyond the Ypres-Poelcappelle Road. The extreme left of 
this line was held by the 13th Battalion. Beyond the 13th to the 
left were French coloured troops (Turcos), while on the right 
flank was a battalion of their own brigade, the 15th (48th High 
landers) from Toronto. No. 1 Coy., under Major D. R. McCuaig, 
who had with him Capt. L. W. Whitehead, Capt. H. F. Walker, 
Lieut. Melville Greenshields and Lieut. C. B. Pitblado, held the 
left of the 13th front, from the point where it joined the Turcos 
to a point some 150 yards to the right of the Poelcappelle Road, 
making approximately 200 yards in all. The next section of the 
Battalion front was held by No. 2 Coy., under Capt. R. H. Jamieson, 
whose officers were Capt. K. Ml. Perry, Lieut. I. M. R. Sinclair, 
Lieut. A. Worthington, Lieut. A. M. Fisher and Lieut. E. M. Sellon. 
This section was separated from that held by No. 1 Coy. by an open 
gap nearly 100 yards long, through which ran a small stream. The 
third, and right, section of the front was held by No. 4 Coy., under 
Capt. W. H. Clark-Kennedy, with whom were Capt. Gerald Lees, 
Lieut. W. S. M. MacTier and Lieut. S. B. Lindsay. 

No. 3 Coy. was in support, two platoons in trenches about 400 
yards to the rear of No. 1 Coy s, position and two platoons at 
Battalion Headquarters in St. Julien. With the former were Major 
E. C. Norsworthy, O.C. the Firing Line, Capt. Guy Drummond and 
Capt C J Smith, while with the platoons in St. T"Hen were Major 

[42] 



SECOND BATTLE OF YPRES 

V. C. Buchanan, Capt. T. S. Morrisey, Lieut. C. N. McCuaig and 
Lieut. F. S. Molson. Lieut. J. G. Ross commanded the Machine 
Gun Section. 

Battalion Headquarters, as has been mentioned, was in St. 
Julien, under Lieut.-Col. Loomis, who, in addition to guiding the 
fortunes of the 13th, was designated Town Commandant of St. 
Julien. With him was Capt. G. E. McCuaig (Adjutant) and Major 
E. R. Brown, the M.O. Lieut. J. O. Hastings and Lieut. C. L. 
Cantley, commanding respectively the Transport and Quarter 
master s stores, were in Ypres on the Canal. 

Such, then, was the disposition of the Battalion on the morning 
of April 22nd. Dawn breaking on that date revealed to the men 
that, in spite of work hard done by the 14th and by themselves, the 
trenches they were holding were rather flimsily constructed. Ex 
cept for the gap already mentioned, there was a continuous parapet 
of sandbags, but this was too thin to be bullet proof and was chiefly 
useful as a screen from view. There was practically no parados, 
few traverses existed and no shell proof dugouts at all, this last 
condition being accounted for by the fact that any attempt to dig 
down was frustrated by the presence a few inches below the surface 
of water and hastily buried bodies. 

In contrast to these discouraging- features, the wire was ex 
cellent and the machine gun posts, on the evidence of the Machine 
Gun Officer, all that could be desired. Fifty to seventy-five yards 
away were the Germans who, during the morning and early after 
noon, showed few signs of activity. An occasional rifle shot and 
spasmodic machine gun fire was all that indicated their existence. 

About 3 p.m., however, these peaceful conditions changed and 
the Germans prepared to launch the blow which the previous inac 
tivity had served to mask. The opening of their great attack was 
heralded by a terrific bombardment of the Canadian line and of 
the French line to the left. In so far as the 13th was concerned, 
this fell with particular severity, not on the front line, but on the 
trenches immediately to the rear, where Major Nors worthy and the 
two platoons of No. 3 Coy. were in support. After suffering 
severely, Norsworthy notified Major McCuaig, of No. 1 Coy., that 
to avoid unnecessary losses he was withdrawing his men a short 
distance, but that he would remain in support and would come up 
at once, should the companies in the line require assistance. Shortly 

[43] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

after this telephone communication was cut, and McCuaig found 
himself in command of the three companies in the line. 

After two hours of heavy shelling, the Germans launched a 
great wave of chlorine gas. This was a weapon new to civilized 
warfare and against it the Allies had no protection whatsoever. 
Rolling across the open fields this gasping horror fell with all its 
force on the trenches, of the Turcos to the Canadians left. Ele 
ments of the 13th also received a whiff of this hellish brew, but 
the poor Turcos suffered its full effects. Blinded and choking 
they fell in agony and perished miserably. Those who escaped the 
first discharge waited for no more. A horrible green death, against 
which courage availed a man nothing, had fallen upon their com 
rades and they themselves had barely escaped. So they turned and 
fled, and no man has been found to blame them. 

Unaware of just what had happened, but uneasy because of 
reports from his left that the French were in retreat, McCuaig 
decided to visit the French trenches to investigate, giving orders to 
No. 1 Platoon, under Capt. Walker, to follow him. This visit 
revealed an alarming situation. Following the wave of gas, the 
Germans had launched a series of attacks and these had penetrated 
through the broken French lines on a front several miles in width. 
Continuing his investigations, McCuaig found that a remnant of the 
Algerians (Turcos) were holding- a breastwork, running back at 
right angles from their original trenches, and were exchanging a 
brisk fire with the Germans-, who had occupied a parallel hedge. As 
there was not sufficient cover to prolong the French line, McCuaig 
instructed Capt. Walker to withdraw his platoon, which had just 
come up, and to take a position in echelon to the Algerians in the 
ditch of the Poelcappelle Road. This road, as will be remembered, 
cut through the front line at right angles and by lining it McCuaig 
faced some of his forces square left, to meet the flank attacks which 
his observations indicated were bound to develop from that quarter. 

Meanwhile, in order to steady the Turcos, who showed signs of 
panic, McCuaig compromised on his order to No. 1 Platoon and 
instructed two sections to remain where they were, while the balance 
carried out the original order to line the Poelcappelle Road, being 
reinforced by No. 3 Platoon, under Lieut. Greenshields, and sub 
sequently by part of No. 4 Platoon. 

About 6 p.m. a salvo from a battery in the rear made four direct 
hits on the Highlanders trenches, causing a dozen or more casual- 

[44] 



SECOND BATTLE OF YPRES 

ties. This occurrence showed McCuaig that his position was a 
desperate one, as it indicated that the Germans were firing captured 
guns from his left rear. 

This deduction was eventually proved to be correct. Having 
broken through the French lines on a wide front, as already 
described, the Germans had swung in towards the Canadians flank 
and were making some progress in the general direction of St. 
Julien. This brought the enemy into contact with Major Nors- 
worthy and the two platoons of No. 3 Coy. in support, or rather 
the remnant of these platoons, which had suffered severely in the 
opening bombardment. 

Inspired by the gallant leadership of Major Norsworthy and 
Capt. Guy Drummond, the men of the supporting platoons fought 
a dauntless fight. Every moment was precious and no one can 
estimate the value of the time that was gained by the delay this 
devoted effort caused to the Germans. But even sublime courage 

o 

can not withstand fire and steel. Overwhelmed at last, Norsworthy 
and Drummond fell and such of their men as had not been killed 
were, with a few exceptions, surrounded and captured. Amongst 
the exceptions were Private Telfer and five other men. who made 
their way through to the front and reported to McCuaig the disas 
ter that had befallen his supports. 

The forward position was a very unenviable one. At 9 p.m. 
the Germansi dislodged the Turcos from their advanced breastwork 
and drove them back in disorder. Some 200 of them, however, 
rallied on the Highlanders and reinforced the line along the Poel- 
cappelle Road, also helping to construct a parados for the original 
front line, where, owing to the absence of proper protection, losses 
had been very heavy. In this work, under the direction of Capt. 
Whitehead and Sergt. -Major Ableson, the Turcos rendered valuable 
assistance. 

Meanwhile a platoon from No. 2 Coy. and one from No. 4 Coy. 
had been added to the force lining the road, while Lieut. J. G. 
Ross, the Battalion Machine Gun Officer, had further strengthened 
this position by detailing to it two of his guns, commanded respec 
tively by Sergt. Trainor and Lance-Corp. Parkes. These N.C.O s. 
took up positions on the Road itself, using as cover a few paving 
blocks which they managed to pry up and place in front of them. 

Hardly had these preparations been completed, when the Ger 
mans pushed forward to the attack. This effort was stubborn 

[45] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

and conducted with no little courage, but it eventually broke down 
before the determined resistance that was opposed to it. as did 
several other attacks no less courageously pushed. Fighting with 
their backs to the wall the Highlanders could not be overcome unless 
annihilated. 

All night the defence was maintained under a veritable storm of 
rifle fire, to which, in spite of the danger of an ammunition shortage, 
the 13th made reply, as it was necessary to disguise from the Ger 
mans the weakness and inadequacy of the little force opposed to 
them. 

About midnight McCuaig received a message from Lieut.-Col. 
Loomis directing him to use his own discretion as to his dispositions. 
This was in reply to a report that had been sent off shortly before 
dark and the delay was due to the great difficulty encountered by 
the runners in getting through. One of these, in fact, never got 
through at all, being intercepted and killed by the Germans far back 
of the original front line. 

In accordance with Col. Loomis orders, which left the move 
ments of the troops in the line to his own judgment, McCuaig held 
a consultation with Capts. Jamieson and Clark-Kennedy, as a result 
of which it was decided that, if reinforcements failed to arrive 
before dawn, the line of the Road would be evacuated and a new 
line, about three hundred yards in the rear of, and parallel to it 
occupied. This new line provided a better field of fire than the 
old one and in any event McCuaig did not believe that the line of 
the Road could be put in a proper state of defence. A further 
consideration was that by the retirement the front would be short 
ened and thus about 100 men would be saved to fill the gaps in the 
line. Accordingly Capt. Jamieson was instructed to set under way 
the construction of the new position. 

Just before dawn, no reinforcements having arrived, orders were 
issued for the withdrawal and this was successfully carried out, 
Lieut. Ross covering the movement with a machine gun, under 
Sergt. Trainor, and a dozen men, under Corp. W. E. Macfarlane. 

Having accomplished its work, this small party was about to 
retire when word was passed along that reinforcements had ar 
rived. These consisted of two platoons of No. 3 Coy., under Capt. 
C. J. Smith, and "B" Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Buffs, 
under Capt. F. W. Tomlinson, the whole under command of Major 
V C Buchanan, who, as a result of the death of Major Norsworthy, 

[46] 



SECOND BATTLE OF YPRES 

was now Second-in-command of the 13th Battalion. The arrival 
of these reinforcements acted like a tonic on the weary troops in 
the front line and inspired the utmost confidence. 

On his arrival Major Buchanan assumed the command of the 
firing line that up to this time had been held by Major McCuaig. 
The latter informed Buchanan as to the details of the situation and, 
after a consultation, it was decided that McCuaig, with the remains 
of his own company and the company of the Buffs, should re- 
occupy the line that had been abandoned. This move was carried 
out without the enemy realizing what had happened. 

Shortly afterwards, at the point where the trenches crossed the 
Road, the Germans tried a ruse-de-guerre. A number of figures, 
apparently wearing French uniforms, but indistinct in the early 
morning- light, appeared in rear of the French trenches, calling out, 
"We are the French." McCuaig, Capt. Tomlinson of the Buffs and 
a French officer were present and, receiving no satisfactory replies 
to their shouted questions, ordered their troops to open fire. To 
this the alleged French at once replied. 

This incident marked the beginning of a long day of heavy 
casualties. Rifle fire poured in on the Battalion from three sides 
and the German shelling, directed by aeroplanes, was heavy and 
effective. About 9 a.m. casualties along the Road became so fre 
quent that it was decided to abandon this position and retire into 
the trench line proper. This helped matters a little, but, as the 
trenches themselves had been badly battered and provided little pro 
tection against enfilade fire, the stream of wounded continued. 
These were passed along to the right and evacuated through the 
lines of the 15th Battalion. In facilitating the passage of these 
casualties, Capt. K. M. Perry, who improvised stretchers, using 
tarpaulins, wire and sticks, rendered most valuable service. 

Meanwhile Lieut. Ross with his machine guns made a determined 
effort to cut down the enfilade fire that was causing the Battalion 
such heavy losses. Accompanied by Lance-Corporal Fred Fisher, 
who had already rendered exceptionally distinguished service, he 
crawled out a shallow trench and, setting up a gun, was about to 
open fire when Fisher was shot dead. A moment later Sergt. 
McLeod, who had taken Fisher s place, was killed in the same way. 
Leaving this particular gun, Lieut. Ross crawled to a spot where 
he ordered Lance-Corp. Parkes and Private Glad to set up another 
gun and open fire. From this location he "got the drop" on the 

[47] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

most bothersome of the opposing trenches and maintained his 
superiority for the rest of the day. 

In spite of the measure of relief afforded by this partial pro 
tection from enfilade, the day was a bad one for the men in the 
line. They were short of food and water and dangerously short 
of ammunition. In addition they were shelled continuously and 
were cut off from all communication with the rear. Twice during 
the day the enemy, supposing- that the defence had been beaten 
down, came over to occupy the demolished trenches and twice, with 
rifle and machine gun fire, the Highlanders drove him back. Each 
time he took his revenge by calling on his artillery to wipe the 13th 
trenches off the map. Each time his artillery complied with a storm 
of shells which, they judged, would utterly subdue the stubborn 
defence. Each time, however, when the storm had passed, the 
defence failed to admit itself appreciably weaker. 

All this time communication with the rear remained completely 
cut, while communication between the companies themselves was 
extremely difficult. Volunteer runners, however, maintained the 
inter-company communication all day. Sniped at and under heavy 
shell fire, they ducked and dodged and wormed their way through, 
carrying the messages that were so vitally important. In this work 
Corp. B. M. Giveen and Lance-Corp. J. J. Campbell rendered ser 
vices that were especially meritorious. 

About 5 o clock in the afternoon Capt. Clark-Kennedy, of No. 
4 Coy., returned to the front line after a daring expedition, as a 
result of which he had got through to Col. Loomis and to Brigade 
Headquarters. He brought back with him orders from Headquarters 
instructing Major Buchanan to evacuate the line he was then hold 
ing and to take up a new line, running to the rear from the point 
where his present line joined that of the 15th Battalion on the right. 

In accordance with these instructions orders were issued to bury 
the Battalion s dead and evacuate the wounded. In both of these 
difficult tasks Capt. L. W. Whitehead rendered devoted service. 

At 10 p.m., after most of the wounded had been evacuated to 
the lines of the 15th Battalion on the right, the companies of the 
13th started to move, carrying the balance of the wounded with them, 
and almost immediately the Germans, sensing the move, launched 
a series of vicious attacks from the front, rear and left flank. 

For a while these attacks rendered the situation of the High 
landers extremely precarious. Loaded down as they were with a 

[48] 




Miles, .5" -A- 



YPRES ANE 





FESTUBERT 



SECOND BATTLE OF YPRES 

considerable number of wounded, their retreat was of necessity 
distressfully slow, while they had exhausted their supply of grenades 
and were in consequence unable to cope with the German bombing 
parties, who harassed them unmercifully. But for the gallant work 
of a small rear guard, under the command of Lieut. C. B. Pitblado, 
assisted by Lieut. Melville Greenshields, and supported by Lieut. 
J. G. Ross, it is almost certain they would have been completely 
overwhelmed. As it was, the attacks were eventually beaten off 
and the retirement painfully continued. 

At this point it seems fitting to acknowledge the splendid services 
of Capt. Tomlinson and his company of the Buffs. From the mo 
ment of their arrival on the morning- of the 23rd they rendered 
loyal and courageous assistance. During the retirement now being 
described they displayed marked courage and coolness, in fact at 
no time during their association with the 13th did they fail to meet 
any call, no matter how severe, that was made on them. The Royal 
Highlanders would deeply regret if by any mischance adequate 
recognition were not afforded to the gallantry these troops displayed. 
During the night of the 23rd a fine piece of work was carried 
out by Lieut. J. O. Hastings and his men of the Transport Section, 
who came right up to the front line from Ypres and brought with 
them rations, ammunition and, most welcome of all, water. Lieut. 
Hastings personally supervised the issuing of the water, which was 
contained in sheepskin bags, and saw to it that each company re 
ceived a fair share. In view of the heavy shelling of roads and 
all the difficulties, this feat of the Transport Section was considered 
to be worthy of the highest commendation. 

Dawn on April 24th found the men of the 13th Battalion in the 
position to which they had retired the night before. Starting from 
the point where the new line pivoted on the flank of the 15th Bat 
talion, the companies were disposed from right to left as follows : the 
Buffs and then the companies of the 13th in numerical order. The 
left flank, extending towards St. Julien, was held by No. 3 Company 
of the 14th R.M.R., under Major Gault McCombe. To the left 
of these again was a single platoon of the 13th, under Lieut. S. 
B. Lindsay, while his left was held by three companies of the 7th 
Canadian Battalion. Beyond these was a mixture of units hur 
riedly pushed forward to meet the menace the German break through 
had caused. 

Soon after daybreak the Germans again used gas, which fell 

[49] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

with particular severity on the trenches of the 15th Battalion to the 
right, and followed this with another intense bombardment, wrecking 
the shallow trenches that had been dug and causing further losses. 
Under cover of this shell fire the enemy (infantry worked closer and 
closer, endeavouring to rush the remnant of the Highlanders and 
administer the coup de grace. 

It was at this stage of the struggle that Capt. Gerald Lees 
was killed and Capt. L. W. Whitehead fatally wounded. Roth 
these officers had displayed resource and courage and their loss 
to the Battalion was a heavy one. 

About 9 a.m. Major Buchanan decided that, as a result of the 
unit on his right having been forced to retire, his position was no 
longer tenable and orders were issued to the companies to fall back 
to a location some distance in the rear, taking- advantage meanwhile 
of every bit of cover to harass and impede the German advance. 

Through some unfortunate error this order did not reach Mc- 
Cuaig, of No. 1 Coy., nor Tomlinson, of the Buffs, till the retirement 
had actually begun. McCuaig, finding that his only way back was 
across fifty yards of open ground, realized that his chances were 
slim. Rallying the remnant of his company, about forty in number, 
he issued the necessary orders and the attempt to cross the open 
space began. Not many m ade that fifty yards in safety. The 
Germans had been expecting some such move and swept the open 
with rifle and machine gun fire the moment the retreating High 
landers broke from cover. A few got across, but the majority went 
down before they had covered half the distance. The Buffs, whose 
commanding officer had been wounded and whose numbers had 
dwindled to a scant fifty, remained in their position and were cut off 
and captured. 

It was at this time that Lieut. C. B. Pitblado displayed the 
greatest gallantry in carrying back Capt. Whitehead, who had been 
mortally wounded in the head and was out of his senses. Being hit 
in the knee himself, Pitblado was compelled to abandon Whitehead, 
who was by this time quite unconscious. Subsequently Pitblado 
met McCuaig and the two, having seen to the retirement of the rem 
nant of their men, were going back together when McCuaig was 
wounded in the knee. A few moments later McCuaig was hit 
through both legs and rendered helpless. Refusing to abandon his 
senior, Pitblado bandaged the latter s wounds under heavy fire. Just 
as this task was completed, Pitblado was again wounded in the leg, 

[50] 



SECOND BATTLE OF YPRES 

which finished his chances of getting away. Lying helplessly in the 
open, McCuaig was hit four more times before he and Pitblado were 
picked up by the Germans, whose advance reached them some ten 
minutes later. For the courage and devotion to duty shown by 
these two officers during the whole engagement they were, at a 
subsequent date, awarded respectively the Distinguished Service 
Order and the Military Cross. 

Meanwhile the other companies, lashed by rifle and machine gun 
fire and hard pressed by the German infantry, continued their slow 
retreat, stopping frequently to administer a stinging check when 
the Germans trod too closely on their heels. Heavy losses were 
incurred during this movement, Capt. Jamieson, Capt. Perry and 
Lieut. Greenshields being wounded in quick succession. Capt. 
Perry s wound, however, did not incapacitate him and he was able 
to carry on. Finally a line was reached where the retreat was 
ended and orders issued to "srland fast." 

All day the Battalion held this line under heavy fire, while 
urgent messages were sent back to headquarters for ammunition 
and reinforcements. About 3 o clock Lieut.-Col. Loomis arrived, 
accompanied by Privates Simpson and Brittan, who had carried 
messages back to him, and by some Pioneers with ammunition. 
With him he brought the glad news that relief was on the way. 
Until this arrived, Capt. Clark-Kennedy, with Lieuts. Lindsay and 
MacTier and a small party, maintained close touch with the Ger 
mans. At about dusk several battalions of British troops came up 
and, passing through the weary Canadian lines, carried the war to 
the enemy. 

II 

Following the arrival of the British, the 13th spent the 
night in reserve trenches south of Wieltje, withdrawing about a 
mile early on the morning of the 25th to near Potijze. Sunday, the 
25th, was spent in this position :and at night the Battalion was or 
dered to La Brique. Reaching this location at about 2 a.m. on 
the 26th, the men started to dig in, when orders reached them to 
retire across the Yser Canal to Brielen, a distance of some miles. 

Thoroughly worn out as they were, this march was a trying 
one, but at length it was accomplished. Only a few hours rest 
was given them, however, when the "fall in" sounded and they were 
ordered forward once more to support an attack being delivered 

[51] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

near La Brique. Forward they went and, having performed this 
particular service, moved at 3 p.m. to a point south of Wieltje, 
where they dug in as Divisional Reserve. 

In this position the Royal Highlanders passed April 27th, under 
shell fire from three directions. Late in the day they moved back 
to bivouacs south of Brielen, moving forward again at 8 p.m. on 
the 28th to entrench in reserve west of the Canal. Previous to this 
a draft of 276 men joined the Battalion, under the command of 
Lieuts. Crowdy, Ives, W. D. Smith and L de V. Chipman. Of 
these the last named had decidedly bad luck, being hit in the ankle 
by shell fire within a short time of his arrival. On the same date 
commissions were granted to Regimental Sergt.-Major J. Jeffery, 
Corp. E. Waud, Lance-Corp. F. S. Mathewson, Lance-Corp. C. M. 
Maxwell and Private G. W. R. Simpson, in recognition of the out 
standing service they had rendered during April 22nd to 24th. 
R.S.M. J. Jeffery was at the same time recommended for further 
promotion to the rank of Captain. 

On the night of the 29th the Battalion moved forward about a 
mile to support an attack by the French. During this attack and 
as a result of the shelling that followed at intervals for several 
days, the exhausted 13th suffered a number of additional casualties. 

Early on the morning of May 4th the Highlanders moved back 
to a position near Vlamertinghe and at 7.30 that night they bade 
adieu to the bloody Ypres Salient and marched, together with the 
other Battalions of the 3rd Brigade, via Reninghelst and Locre, to 
billets two miles south of Bailleul. 

Ill 

Before following the further fortunes of the Battalion proper, 
it is necessary to clear up some details of the Second Battle of 
Ypres omitted from the foregoing account in order that the con 
tinuity of the story should not be repeatedly broken. 

As will be remembered, on April 21st, when the Battalion went 
into the line, Lieut.-Col. Loomis established his headquarters in 
St. Julien, of which town he was also appointed Commandant. On 
the afternoon of April 22nd he and his officers had just had tea 
when far over to the left a great green cloud was seen, pouring 
across the trenches of the Turcos. Gas was unknown, but it was 
realized that this cloud had some extraordinary significance and an 
account of it was at once forwarded to Brigade H.Q. 

[52] 



SECOND BATTLE OF YPRES 

By 5 o clock large numbers of the French could be seen retreat 
ing and by this time St. Julien itself was under steady shell fire. 
Just as it became dark bullets hitting all around and Very lights 
going up showed that the Germans had approached to within about 
400 yards. Accordingly Capt. T. S. Morrisey, with a party of 
H.Q. details, was sent out to join other units in forming- a line to 
defend the town north of the Poelcappelle Road. 

After dark Capt. Tomlinson and a company of the Buffs ar 
rived and these, with the two platoons of No. 3 Coy., Col. Loomis 
despatched to reinforce his hard pressed front line. As has been 
described, these units, owing to the roundabout route they were 
compelled to follow, did not reach the front till dawn. 

At about this time a message was received from General Turner 
that the 10th and 16th Battalions would attack the small wood N.W. 
of St. Julien at midnight. This attack duly took place and the 
story of it is a splendid one indeed. Pressed with a dash and gal 
lantry beyond all praise, the attack swept through the wood and 
drove the Germans in confusion before it. Incidentally, it relieved 
for the time being the worst of the pressure on St. Julien. 

Meanwhile, under heavy shell fire, Lieuts. J. O. Hastings and 
C. L. Cantley had come up to St. Julien from Ypres with the trans 
port containing rations and ammunition. While explaining to these 
officers the situation of the Battalion as far as it was understood, 
Capt. G. E. McCuaig was hit by a piece of shell, while at about 
the same time Lieut. F. S. Molson was also wounded. Both these 
officers had their wounds dressed by Major E. R. Brown, who was 
having a busy time, as casualties poured in on St. Julien from all 
directions. 

Meantime no news reached Col. Loomis as to the fate that had 
overtaken his front line. He was acutely anxious and his anxiety 
was not relieved by the fact that small parties of all descriptions 
kept reporting to him with requests for information and orders. 
Most of the time he had little information to give, but each party 
he ordered on, or back, as the situation at the moment seemed to 
warrant. 

For two days and nights this sort of thing continued, while the 
shell fire steadily became more intense and the German attack pushed 
closer and closer. At last it was seen that the town must fall and 
Battalion Headquarters was accordingly withdrawn. Great credit 
attaches to Col. Loomis for the courage and ability with which he 

[53] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

directed operations in this shell torn town during those exceedingly 
strenuous days. Recognition of his services was accorded when, 
in the King s birthday honours list, he was awarded the D.S.O. 

Mention has already been made of the work of No. 24066, 
Lance-Corporal Fred Fisher, at the time when he met his death! 
but no account of the 13th Battalion in the Second Battle of Ypres 
is complete without reference to the work of this plucky N.C.O. 
on the night previous. Coming forward from St. Julien, Fisher 
discovered that some of the guns of Major W. B. M. King s field 
battery were being fought with the German infantry close on top 
of them. Capture of these guns seemed imminent, but Fisher set 
up his machine gun in advance of the Battery, and, with the as 
sistance of a few men from the supports, held off the enemy till 
the guns got away. During this encounter Fisher s small section 
was under concentrated fire and four of has six men were killed. 
Returning to St. Julien, he got four men of the 14th Battalion and 
endeavoured once more to push up to the front line. In coming 
forward he lost these men and eventually reached the front line 
alone. Here he continued to render valuable service up to the 
moment of his death. For the valour he displayed on these oc 
casions he was recommended for, and awarded, the coveted Victoria 
Cross, being the first Canadian to win this honour in the Great War. 

Such, then, in its main features is the story of the 13th Battalion 
at Second Ypres. Referring to the stand made by the Canadian 
Division as a whole, Field-Marshal Sir John French in his official 
despatch wrote as follows: 

"In spite of the danger to which they were exposed, the Cana 
dians held their ground with a magnificent display of tenacity and 
courage ; and it is not too much to say that the bearing and conduct 
of these splendid troops averted a disaster which might have been 
attended with the most serious consequences." 

This reference, as has been stated, applies to the work of the 
whole Canadian Division. No one unit proved braver or more 
tenacious than the others. All shared alike in the glory of an amaz 
ing feat of arms. Facing overwhelming odds, the Canadian Division 
by its stand won the right to take its place as the equal >in tenacity and 
courage of the famous "Old Contemptibles," whose deeds are de 
servedly enshrined in the proud traditions of the British Army. 



[54] 



CHAPTER V 

Festubert, Givenchy and Ploegsteert 

The naked earth is warm with Spring 

And with green grass and bursting trees 

Leans to the sun s gaze glorying, 

And quivers in the sunny breeze; 

And Life is Colour and Warmth and Light, 

And a striving evermore for these; 

And he is dead who will not fight; 

And who dies fighting has increase. 

JULIAN H. F. GRENFEU,. 



ON leaving the Ypres Salient, the 13th marched to billets south 
of Bailleul, as mentioned in Section II of the previous chap 
ter. Accompanying the Royal Highlanders on this march 
was "Flora Macdonald," a goat, "found" near the position of some 
Indian troops in the Salient and adopted forthwith as the Regi 
ment s official mascot. 

Settling down in billets, the 13th had an opportunity to realize 
how much the Battalion had suffered in the recent battle. Twelve 
officers had gone down, while casualties in the ranks totalled 454. 
In other words the unit had lost very nearly half its fighting 
strength. Two of the four company commanders were casualties 
and the promotion of Major Buchanan to succeed Major Nors- 
worthy as Second-in-command meant that No. 3 Coy. was also 
deprived of its wonted leader. In addition many trusted N.C.O s. 
had been killed or wounded, so that the whole fabric of the Battalion 
was badly in need of repair. 

Paced with this situation, Lieut-Col. Looinis started to rebuild 
his unit without a moment s delay, realizing that the time available 
for this work would in all probability be extremely short. Men 
were scarce in those days and the Colonel rightly judged that the 
Canadians, having proved their worth, would not wait long till they 
were called on to prove it again. 

[55] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Reorganization of the Battalion, then, started on the first day 
m billets and continued without interruption on the days that 
followed. A small draft of N.C.O s. and men was received from 
England and at once distributed to the companies. Capt G D 
McGibbon also joined from the Base Company in England while 
promotion from the ranks was given to Corp. J. D. Macpherson 
Private S. V. Brittan, Private B. H. Rust and Private H. R. Powell 
3f these, the first three had been wounded in the battle of Ypres^ 
where all had rendered conspicuous service. News from the three 
wounded that their injuries would not detain them in England much 
longer was promptly followed by the announcement that when 
they rejoined they would do so with commissioned rank. Lieut. 
Powell immediately assumed his new duties as a subaltern with No 
2 Coy. 

On May 9th General Alderson visited the Battalion and ad 
dressed the officers and men. This speech followed the lines of 
his order of the day dealing with the work of the Canadian Division 
in the Ypres Salient, in which he said: "I would first of all tell 
you that I have never been so proud of anything in my life as I 

am of my armlet with Canada on it I think it is possible that 

all of you do not quite realize that, if we had retired on the even 
ing of April 22nd, the whole of the 27th and 28th Divisions 

would probably have been cut off. Certainly they would not have 

got away a gun or vehicle of any sort I know my military 

history pretty well, and I cannot think of an instance in which so 

much depended on the standing fast of one division There 

is one more word I would say to you before I stop. You have made 
a reputation second to none in this war; but, remember, no man 
can live on his reputation. He must keep on adding- to it. And I 
feel sure that you will do so ." 

Three days later Gen. Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien visited Bat 
talion Headquarters and spoke in somewhat similar terms to a small 
group of officers. On this occasion the companies were absent on 
a route march, so the distinguished visitor had no opportunity to 
address the men. For them, and for the company officers, he left 
a message with Col. Loomis which expressed in fitting terms his 
appreciation of the services they had rendered. 

These visits and messages were a source of gratification to the 
13th, but nothing pleased them so much as the news, which filtered 
through from Scotland, that the Black Watch were adding to their 

[56] 



FESTUBERT, GIVENCHY AND PLOEGSTEERT 

recruiting posters the simple phrase, "With which is allied the 13th 
Canadian Battalion, R.H.C." From the beginning the Canadians 
had received nothing but courtesy and assistance at the hands of 
the allied Regiment, nevertheless it is more than likely that the 
officers of the latter viewed with concealed misgivings the possibility 
that the untried troops from the Dominion might fail to come up 
to what was expected of a battalion with Black Watch traditions. 
If these apprehensions existed, as the Canadians suspected, they 
vanished in the blood and smoke of Second Ypres and for them the 
addition to the recruiting poster made honourable and sportsmanlike 
amend. 

Ten days after their arrival in billets the Highlanders received 
orders to march once more. Parading at 7 p.m. on the 13th, the 
reconstructed Battalion headed south, marching- all night and ar 
riving at 2.30 a.m. at billets near Robecq. Much of this march, via 
Estaires, La Gorgue and Lestrem, was over new military roads 
which did not appear on the maps, but in spite of this the unit made 
reasonably good time. 

May 15th was a busy day. Company inspections were ordered 
and much new equipment was issued to replace the losses in the 
recent battle. Considering the showing made at Bailleul, the good 
marching of the previous night and the smartness of the men at the 
company inspections, officers concluded that while the old Battalion 
would never be the same ag aiin, it was, at least, an efficient fighting 
unit once more. That this should be the case was just as well, for 
it soon became obvious that the Canadians were marching south 
with "dirty work" ahead. 

On May 9th Sir John French had attacked the German front 
with the double object of securing positions on the Vimy and Aubers 
Ridges, which would threaten the Germans hold on Lens, La Bassee 
and Lille, and at the same time preventing the enemy from with 
drawing troops to reinforce their line farther south, where General 
Joffre and the French Army were pounding at the gates of Lens. 
This British attack, now known as the Battle of Aubers Ridge, had 
died down after several days of bitter fighting, during which the 
German lines had been driven back and badly bent, but never com 
pletely broken. Following the lull, the attack was now to be re 
newed and in the fighting to come the Canadian Division was to 
have a part. 

Continuing their march on May 16th, the Royal Highlanders 

[57] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

steadily drew nearer to the scene of the new battle. On the 17th 
they occupied reserve trenches at Le Touret. These muddy ditches 
were shelled to some extent during the few hours that the 13th 
were in them, but no particular damage resulted and the Battalion 
moved back to spend the night in billets in E ssars. 

At 5 a.m. on the 19th "Fall in" was sounded and the Regiment 
advanced to Le Touret once more. Here the same muddy ditches 
were occupied for another period of several hours, at the end of 
which the Battalion, advancing as support to an attack, moved into 
trenches which had formed the British line previous to the opening 
of the battle. These were situated in front oi a hamlet, which, in 
memory of troops who had previously occupied it, was known as 
Indian Village. 

While in this location half the men were employed in strengthen 
ing the position, while the other half were engaged in burying dead, 
large numbers of whom mutely testified to the severity of the fight 
ing in. the recent advance. Incidentally, those of the Highlanders 
who had not previously done so, discarded their Ross rifles and 
equipped themselves with Lee-Enfields. The British carried these 
and scores were lying where they had dropped from the hands of 
their former owners. The exchange, therefore, was made without 
formality. 

Meanwhile other battalions of the 3rd Brigade had taken over 
a section of the front and had been heavily engaged. On May 18th 
two companies of the 14th Royal Montreal Regiment and two com 
panies of the 16th Canadian Scottish attacked and, despite heavy 
losses, pushed their assault to the boundaries of an orchard on La 
Quinque Rue which the enemy had placed in a state of defence. 
This Orchard was a veritable hornet s nest and it was at once ob 
vious that a strong attack would be required to take it. Accord 
ingly the companies of the 14th and 16th dug in and connected up 
with the Wiltshire Battalion on their right and the Coldstream 
Guards on the left. During the night the two companies of the 
14th were withdrawn and at daybreak two fresh companies of the 
16th replaced the original companies of their own battalion. The 
front vacated by the men of the 14th was filled by extending the 
Coldstream Guards on one flank and the two fresh companies of 
the Canadian Scottish on the other. 

On May 20th orders were issued for an attack on the Orchard. 
Summarized, the instructions to the battalions of the 3rd Brigade 

[58] 



FESTUBERT, GIVENCHY AND PLOEGSTEERT 

were as follows : Two companies of the 16th Canadian Scottish and 
two companies of the 15th (48th Highlanders) were to assault the 
Orchard and a position extending to the right at 7.45 p.m. On the 
attack being carried through, the 13th Royal Highlanders of Canada 
were to take over the positions, consolidating and holding them. 
The 14th Royal Montreal Regiment was to be held in Brigade 
reserve. Engineer parties were to join the 13th in the work of 
consolidation. Simultaneously with the attack of the 15th and 16th, 
the 10th Canadian Battalion, of the 2nd Brigade, was to assault 
a fortified locality, known as K5. 

Itn compliance with these orders, the 13th advanced from Indian 
Village at 7 p.m., Lieut. C. M. Maxwell being wounded by shell 
fire before the advance began. In this engagement the companies 
of the 13th were commanded respectively by Capts. K. M. Perry, 
E. M. Sellon, S. B. Lindsay and W. H. Clark-Kennedy, all of 
whom had taken part in the previous engagement at Ypres. 

It was still daylight when the Battalion left its trenches and, 
as the only route by which the men could reach their objectives was 
along Prince s Road and up La Quinque Rue, or across open fields 
devoid of cover, losses on the way were seen to be inevitable. To 
reduce these as far as possible, the advance was made in single file. 

Almost at once, however, the enemy spotted the move and 
opened a heavy fire with shrapnel. Coming up La Quinque Rue 
this fire struck the Battalion and men fell thick and fast. Early in 
the advance the Battalion suffered a severe loss when Capt. J. G. 
Ross, the Machine Gun Officer, was badly wounded. Before x p ery 
long Lieuts. C. M. Horsey, I. M. R. Sinclair, G. W. R. Simpson, 
W. D. Smith and A. Worthington were also wounded. These, with 
numerous wounded of the other ranks, were picked up by stretcher 
bearers and carried back to Indian Village, where Capt. F. A. C. 
Scrimger, V.C., Medical Officer of the 14th Battalion, attended to 
their injuries. The dead it was impossible to remove till later on. 

Meanwhile the companies of the 13th pushed up the Quinque 
Rue and reached the vicinity of the Orchard. Simultaneously the 
16th Battalion launched their attack. Pushed with dash and energy, 
this drove the enemy to the extreme limits of the Orchard, whence 
he retired to a carefully prepared position in the rear. 

As soon as the assault had reached its objectives, the companies 
of the 13th proceeded to take over. No. 1 Coy., plus one platoon 
of No. 2 Coy., reinforced the 15th Battalion in an old German 

[59] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

communication trench, with their left resting on a road, which 
separated them from the base of the Orchard. The other three 
platoons of No. 2 Coy. proceeded direct through the Orchard and 
reported to the Officer Commanding the 16th. Lieut. H. R. Powell, 
commanding the first of these platoons, was ordered to place his 
men alongside the 16th. Powell discovered that the 16th were oc 
cupying the front of the Orchard only and that the farm buildings 
in the right front corner, as well as the right side of the Orchard, 
would have to be occupied, otherwise his right flank would be in 
the air and there would be a wide gap between his company and 
the old German trench held by No. 1 Coy. 

Accordingly he ordered his men to dig in where his observations 
showed him that a line was necessary, informing Lieut. F. S. 
Mathewson, who had come up meantime, of what he was doing. 
Mathewson at once agreed to the plan and ordered his men to 
join Powell s in constructing and holding the new line. This neces 
sitated a change in the arrangements for relieving the men of the 
16th along the front of the Orchard. Word was accordingly sent 
back to Capt. Sellon, who arranged that No. 3 Coy. should come up 
and accomplish the relief in question. 

Meanwhile No. 4 Coy., in support, had relieved a company of 
the 16th in shallow trenches to the left of the Orchard. To the 
left again, and somewhat in advance of this support position, was 
a Territorial battalion of the Black Watch, occupying front line 
trenches. Capt. Clark-Kennedy visited this battalion and made 
arrangements, as a result of which a long gap between their front 
and the left of No. 3 Coy s, front in the Orchard was closed. 

All this time the enemy kept up heavy rifle and machine gun 
fire, while their flares lighted up the darkness and made the business 
of digging in very difficult. Shell fire was fairly heavy, which did 
not tend to make things easier. 

Around the buildings in the corner of the Orchard No. 2 Coy. 
ran up against a problem which had not been foreseen, namely that 
the ground where they had taken their stand had once been the 
stable yard of the farm and was covered with a stone pavement. 
An advance, or retirement, was therefore desirable, but neither 
was possible, as even a short advance brought the men within bomb 
ing range of the new German position, while an equally short 
withdrawal placed the farm buildings where they blocked the field 
of fire. 



FESTUBERT, GIVENCHY AND PLOEGSTEERT 

Fortunately, at this stage, one of the farm buildings was found 
to contain a large amount of sand bag reinforcement. This was 
torn down amd the bags used to construct isolated post s, which 
provided head cover. By morning, too, as the result of strenuous 
work, a trench about a foot deep had been dug in the stone 
pavement. 

All this had not been accomplished without losses. Capt. Sellon 
was severely wounded about midnight and Lieut. Powell was killed. 
At first Powell was merely reported missing, as no one could be 
found who had actually seen him fall, or positively identified his 
body. Little hope that he had survived, however, could be indulged 
in. Somewhere along that hotly bombarded line it was presumed 
that he had fallen and, later, reports from men in hospital proved 
this correct. Lieut. Mathewson was also reported killed, but this 
was soon found to be a mistake. 

Meanwhile parties of the Canadian Engineers, under Lieut-Col. 
Wright, had arrived and were assisting in the work of consolidation. 
Col. Wright was killed while supervising the work of his men, but 
his splendid example was riot in vain, for by day-break the position 
was consolidated, though the line was by no means continuous. In 
particular No. 2 Coy. had found it impossible to dig a trench across 
the road which separated the right of their three platoons from the 
left of the trench occupied by the remaining platoon and No. 1 Coy. 

All day on May 21st the enemy kept the Orchard under heavy 
fire, wounding Lieut. A. M. Fisher, of No. 3 Coy. and inflicting 
considerable losses to the rank and file. In the afternoon they 
counter-attacked, but this was a weak effort and the Highlanders 
had little trouble in beating it back. Then, in front of No. 2 Coy., 
they tried a trick. All of a sudden a white flag was seen in the 
German trench and voices called out, "We want to surrender, come 
over and take us." When some of the men of No. 2 Coy. exposed 
themselves in answer to this request, a machine gun opened fire on 
them and caused several casualties, among these being >Sergt. Hillier, 
who was killed while trying to prevent his troops from leaving their 
cover. Meanwhile, some of the Germans, who had also exposed 
themselves, were caught by the Highlanders reply to the machine 
gun and amongst those seen to fall was the man carrying the white 
flag. 

That night the Germans set fire to a large hay stack in No 
Man s Land, opposite the junction of Nos. 2 and 3 Companies. 

[61] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

This burned for some time, the light seriously hindering- the work of 
improving the position. In addition the enemy kept a machine gun 
trained on the road, where No. 2 Coy. was anxious to connect up 
with its remaining platoon and No. 1 Coy. A carrying party got 
across this road from No. 1 Coy. to No. 2 with rations, but they 
were unable to carry over any water. 

In the meantime the light of the fire was proving of assistance 
to Lieut. W. S. M. MacTier, of No. 4 Coy., who had gone back to 
guide a detachment of the Royal Canadian Dragoons up to the 
Orchard from Indian Villag e. These troops were initiated by the 
Highlanders into the mysteries of work as infantry and into the 
details of swinging a pick and wielding a shovel. The Dragoons 
frankly admitted that they did not care for this sort of thing- and 
preferred a war where they could use their horses, nevertheless 
they buckled to and rendered valuable assistance. 

May 22nd was a fine day with a blazing hot sun, which proved 
trying to the men lying out with little shelter. No. 2 Coy. suffered 
particularly, as they had no water at all. In the afternoon, how 
ever, they got a double strand of German telephone wire across 
the road to No. 1 Coy. and by this means a number of bottles were 
dragged across with sufficient water to quench the burning thirst 
of the wounded and to relieve to some degree the parched throats 
of those who were still unhit. 

Late that night, after two exceedingly trying days and nights, 
the 13th was relieved by the 3rd Battalion. 

II , 

Following the relief by the 3rd Battalion, the companies of the 
Royal Highlanders marched independently to billets at Essars. This 
march was unpleasant, as the early part of it was harassed by shell 
fire, while the whole of it was accompanied by thunder, lightning 
and driving rain. 

Four days were spent at Essars and the Battalion once more 
had time to realize the price that must be paid whenever it was 
heavily engaged. Roll call showed that ten officers were casualties, 
while losses in the ranks totalled 170. 

Meanwhile the Battle of Festubert was drawing to a close. 
For some days attacks by British and Canadian units continued and 
achieved local successes in the face of almost insuperable difficulties. 
Courage and devotion were not lacking in these attacks, but artillery 

[62] 



FESTUBERT, GIVENCHY AND PLOEGSTEERT 

support was, and soon it became evident that the operation as a 
whole must be put down as; a costly failure. Aubers Ridge was 
not yet to pass into British hands. Accordingly, on May 25th, 
Sir John French issued the orders which brought the battle to a 
close. 

On the same date the Royal Highlanders left billets in Essars and 
moved up to reserve trenches between Rue de 1 Epinette and Rue 
du Bois. Two days later they relieved the 14th Battalion in the 
front line. On their first night in this position a wounded German 
was observed lying in front of No. 4 Coy s, trenches. Promptly a 
stretcher bearer of the 14th Battalion volunteered to go out and 
bring the wounded man in. While engaged in this daring piece of 
work the 14th man was fatally wounded and two stretcher bearers 
of the 13th who went to his assistance were also struck down. Four 
wounded men now lay where one had lain before and the trap 
seemed ready for further victims. Ignoring this aspect of the case, 
Capt. Clark-Kennedy and two of his men took up the work of res 
cue. Over the parapet they went and, reaching the wounded, got 
all four safely in without incurring any casualties themselves. 
Shortly after this incident Lieut. W. S. M. MacTier, of No. 4 Coy., 
was wounded by a rifle bullet through the ankle. 

On May 29th Capt. G. E. McCuaig, who had been wounded at 
Ypres, rejoined the Battalion and took over the Adjutant s work 
from Lieut. H. D. Ives, who had been acting as Adjutant in his 
absence. With McCuaig came a number of new officers, amongst 
these being Lieuts. Bell, Moran, J. G. Walker, D. B. Donald and 
J. E. Christie. Of these Lieut. Bell was sent to No. 2 Coy., which 
was in support. Early next morning he was asleep in a dugout 
when a shell blew the place to bits and wounded him severely. 

On the night of the 31st the Highlanders were relieved by the 
2nd Gordons, of the 20th British Brigade. Relief was completed 
about 2 a.m. and the 13th then proceeded to Hinges, via Bethune 
and the tow path of the La Bassee Canal. Five days were spent in 
the billets and bivouacs of Hinges, during which platoon drills and 
company route marches were frequent. Lieuts. Peerless and Mingo 
joined the Battalion during this period, while commissions were 
granted to Private N. M. MacLean, Corp. B. M. Giveen, Private 
Eagle and Private F. J. Rowan. 

On June 5th Lieut.-Col. Loomis and other officers reconnoitred 
a reserve position at Givenchy, north of the Canal, which, on the 

"[63] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

following day, the Highlanders took over from the 5th Canadian 
Battalion. June 7th and 8th were spent in this position and on the 
9th the Battalion moved up and relieved the Royal Montreal Regi 
ment in the front line. The following afternoon officers of No. 2 
Coy., in support, were interested to observe the Prince of Wales 
passing their position and making his way forward. He was ac 
companied by a worried staff officer who was obviously remonstrat 
ing against any further advance. All protests fell on deaf ears, 
apparently, as the last No. 2 Coy. saw of the pair was when they 
disappeared up a communication trench towards the line. 

This tour lasted three days and was comparatively quiet, though 
not entirely devoid of incident. Writing of it, a subaltern men 
tions that, "One might was quite lively. They had their barbed 
wire cut by our artillery, so all night we kept up a fairly heavy fire 
to keep them from repairing it. This seemed to annoy them, so 
they sent out a bombing party to a sap head and threw a few bombs 
at us. We replied with a machine gun and they went back. Then 
they turned a trench mortar on us and also gave us a little shelling, 
as well as rifle and machine gun fire. Altogether during an hour 
they used every implement of warfare, bar the bayonet and gas, 
and they didn t hit a man. It was really quite fun." 

On the night of the 10th, the 4th Canadian Battalion relieved the 
13th and the latter proceeded to billets in Essars. It rained during 
the relief and for a day after, but for the ten following days, 
during which the Battalion remained in billets, the weather was 
consistently "fine and clear." On June 15th orders were received 
to "stand to," ready to move at short notice, as the 1st Canadian 
Infantry Brigade was attacking at Givenchy and support might 
be required. Later this order was cancelled and the men resumed 
their work. Route marching, company training and battalion drill 
kept all ranks busy from dawn till dusk. Route marches were 
popular for once, however, as they invariably ended with a swim in 
the Canal. 

Following this interval of training, the Highlanders moved up 
on June 22nd and relieved the 10th Canadian Battalion in the front 
line and support, in Givenchy sub-section B3. This tour proved to 
be short only two days but during the forty-eight hours con 
siderable activity of a minor character prevailed. The enemy used 
trench mortars, rifle grenades and hand bombs with some effect, 
while the 13th snipers enjoyed unusually profitable shooting. A 

[64] 



FESTUBERT, GIVENCHY AND PLOEGSTEERT 

patrol sent out to explore a vacant German trench encountered op 
position, Lieut. Eagle, who was in command, and two of his scouts 
being wounded. Altogether 2 men were killed and 5 wounded 
during the tour. On completion of the tour, the 13th was re 
lieved by the 2nd and 6th Gordons and proceeded to familiar billets 
in Essars, where two days were spent, chiefly in washing, cleaning 
and repairing- equipment and in physical drill. 

Ill 

Following the conclusion of the action at Givenchy, the Cana 
dian Division turned once more towards the north. Leaving Es 
sars at 10.55 p.m. on June 26th, the 13th Battalion marched steadily 
all night and arrived at Neuf Berquin at half past four in the 
morning. Rain fell most of the night and the march was not 
particularly agreeable, but good time was made. Rain fell again 
during the continuation of the march that same evening, but this 
time the distance was shorter and billets at La Becque, near 
Bailleul, were reached by 11 o clock. These were the same billets 
that the Battalion had occupied when refitting after the Second Bat 
tle of Ypres. Two days were spent here and on the 30th a move 
was made to billets one mile N.W. of Steenwerck. 

July 1st, being Dominion Day, was a half holiday. A football 
match was organized between the two halves of the Regiment, while 
in addition a programme of sports was run off. Anyone strong in 
leg, arm or wind had a chance to distinguish himself in these, as the 
events included such varied items as throwing the cricket ball, kick 
ing the football, sprints, dashes, putting the shot and a tug-of-war. 

On July 2nd routine was resumed, varied, however, by a bathing 
parade to Bailleul. The next day Lieut-Col. Loomis, Major 
Buchanan, the Company Commanders, Signalling and Machine Gun 
Officers reconnoitred a position which the Battalion was to occupy 
from Ploegsteert Wood (facing Warreton) to Wulverghem (op 
posite Messines). On July 5th the Royal Highlanders relieved the 
1st Canadian Battalion in support, one man of the Machine Gun 
Section being killed by shellfire at Hyde Park Corner, while going 
up. 

At 8 p.m. on the 9th the 13th Battalion completed relief of the 
14th Battalion in the front line. One hour later two mines were 
exploded by the Canadian Engineers and a troublesome German post 
destroyed. Almost before the smoke of the explosion had cleared, 

[65] 
5 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

a party, under the command of Capt. K. Ml Perry and under the 
immediate control of Sergt. A. W. Ruston, went forward and oc 
cupied the craters, consolidating these and, in spite of heavy enemy 
fire, suffering no casualties. Four nights later the powers that be 
decided to blow two more mines on the Highlanders front and 
again a party under Perry and Ruston consolidated. Smart work 
was shown in this respect, as again the party accomplished its 
difficult task without losing a man. One killed and ten wounded 
represented the total casualties of the five days. During this tour 
Lieut. Hugh Wallis, commissioned from the ranks of the Canadian 
Scottish, was posted to the 13t h Battalion. 

At 6 p.m. on the 14th, daylight relief being possible in this sec 
tor, the Royal Montreal Regiment took over the front and the 
Highlanders proceeded to billets in the Piggeries. These billets, as 
their name suggests, had previously been the abode of swine, but 
the Engineers had taken them in hand and converted them into 
billets. They weren t elaborate, but were comfortable and dry and 
quite acceptable to men whose days were often spent in much less 
agreeable places. 

On the day following the arrival of the 13th at the Piggeries, 
Private E. Jolicoeur was wounded in the head by the accidental 
discharge of a rifle. First aid was at once given and the unfortunate 
man hurried to No. 1 Canadian Field Ambulance, but the wound 
proved fatal within an hour. The body was buried in the Mlilitary 
Cemetery at Hyde Park Corner. 

On July 18th Holy Communion was celebrated by Canon Scott, 
after which the Battalion moved up and relieved the 14th in the 
front line. During the night a patrol, under Lieut. Rust and Corp. 
Wright, went out and examined the enemy wire. Continuing their 
investigations, this patrol advanced to within 15 yards of the German 
line, whence they brought back information of considerable value. 
During the three days of this tour the 13th did a great deal of 
work on the parapets. Enemy snipers were active, but secured 
few bull s eyes. One man was killed and four wounded. 

On the 21st of the month the 4th Canadian Battalion relieved 
the 13th, the latter proceeding to huts at Aldershot Camp (S.W. 
of Neuve Eglise) in Divisional Reserve. During the week that 
followed large working parties were furnished by the Battalion to 
assist the Engineers, who were converting the "Plug Street" front 
into a veritable fortress. These parties were not popular, but the 

|66] 



FESTUBERT, GIVENCHY AND PLOEGSTEERT 

men realized the value of strong positions and earned a reputation 
with the Engineers by their willingness and hard work. During 
this same week Major R. H. Jamieson, who had been wounded while 
commanding No. 2 Coy. during the Ypres battle, returned to the 
Battalion and assumed the duties of Paymaster. 

On July 29th the Battalion vacated Aldershot Camp and again 
took up residence in the Piggeries. Working parties of two and 
three hundred men were supplied to the Engineers on several oc 
casions during the next three days, while one day news was 
received that the Germans, not content with gas, had sprung a new 
form of "fright fulness" in the s hape of liquid fire. Confidential 
reports indicated that this new weapon had been tried out against 
the British near Hooge, but had not been an entire success. "Jets 
30 to 40 yards long issue from these flame throwers," the reports 
stated, "but the damage they cause is not severe. Surprise and 
panic would seem to be their chief danger." 

Half past six on the night of August 2nd found the Battalion 
once more in the front line for a four day stay. Night patrolling 
of No Man s Land featured this tour and much valuable information 
was brought in. Contact with a German patrol was established on 
one occasion and bombs thrown by both sides. In this exchange 
Private E. Yorke was slightly wounded. On another occasion a 
new officer took out a patrol with the intention of surprising and 
capturing an enemy listening post thought to exist in a ruined house 
between the lines. In this case, however, the hunter was hunted 
and, surprised by a German bombing attack that came from good 
ness knows where, the patrol beat a hasty and not entirely dignified 
retreat. 

At the end of this tour, the 13th was relieved by the 1st and 
3rd Canadian Battalions and moved back to familiar quarters in 
Alders hot Huts. Here working parties were again furnished to the 
Engineers to carry on the business of making the "Plug Street" 
front exceedingly strong. On the night of the 8th Lieut.-Col. 
Loomis presided at a concert which the men enjoyed hugely and 
on the 10th he, with all the officers, N.C.O s. and 20 men from each 
company, attended a gas demonstration in the G.H.Q. 3rd Line 
trenches. After a lecture by an officer of the Scottish Rifles, all 
present donned gas helmets, with which the troops were now pro 
vided, and entered a trench where chlorine gas had been concen 
trated. None of the party suffered any ill effects and the efficiency 

[67] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

of the helmets was clearly demonstrated, a point which up to this 
time had been the subject of doubt. 

On the morning of August 12th Brig.-Gen. R. E. W. Turner, 
V.C., C.B., D.S.O., passed through the Battalion lines on his way 
to England to assume command of the 2nd Canadian Division, then 
about to join the 1st in France. As commander of the 3rd Brigade, 
Gen. Turner had earned an enviable military reputation and in ad 
dition had gained to an unusual degree the affection and regard of 
his men. Accordingly, the 13th cheered him heartily and bade him 
farewell with mingled feelings of regret at his departure and 
pleasure at the promotion that had come to him. After he had 
left, command of the Brigade was assumed by the Senior Battalion 
Commander, Lieut.-Col. R. G. E. Leckie, C.M.G., of the 16th Cana 
dian Scottish. Simultaneously Col. Leckie received promotion to 
the rank of temporary Brigadier-General. 



[68] 



CHAPTER VI 

Messines 

The road that runs up to Messines 
Is double-locked with gates of fire, 
Barred with high ramparts, and between 
The unbridged river, and the wire. 

But we shall go up to Messines 
Even thro that fire-defended gate, 
Over and thro all else between 
And give the highway back its state. 

J. E. STEWART. 



ON August 15th, 1915, the 13th Battalion relieved the 10th Bat 
talion and Canadian Cavalry Brigade in Trenches 135, 136 
and 137, with headquarters at La Plus Douce Farm. This 
series of trenches was destined to see a great deal of the Royal 
Highlanders of Canada during the months that lay ahead and will 
be referred to frequently in the course of the present chapter. All 
unaware of this, however, the Battalion took over the trenches, 
effected some repairs to the parapets, suffered a few casualties six 
to be exact and handed over to the Royal Montreal Regiment at 
6.10 p.m. on the 19th. 

Billets at Courte Dreve Farm were occupied from the 20th to 
24th and many working parties were supplied to the Engineers. 
On the 20th Major Buchanan left to command the 15th Battalion 
during the absence of Major Marshall, returning on the 23rd, in 
time to accompany his own Battalion into Trenches 135-137 on the 
24th. 

The relief on this occasion did not escape the notice of the 
enerny, who shelled the communication trenches in the vicinity of 
Ration Farm, wounding five men of No. 3 Coy. There were no 
further losses during- the five day tour that followed, but on the 
28th some excitement was caused when the Germans set fire to 
the grass between the lines. By this means they probably hoped to 

[69] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

stop the Canadians from patrolling in No Man s Land at night, but 
if such was their purpose it failed completely of its object. 

Relieved by the 14th Battalion on the night of August 29th, 
the Highlanders proceeded to Bulford Camp (Kortepyp Huts), 
near Neuve Eglise. Here on September 2nd General Plumer, com 
manding the 2nd Army Corps, inspected the Battalion and com 
plimented the officers on the showing made. 

On the following day the Highlanders took over Trenches 135- 
137 for another five day tour. Here a draft of 265 men was re 
ceived from the 23rd Reserve Battalion in England. How welcome 
these men were may be judged by this extract from an officer s 
letter. "We received a draft of 265 men yesterday, which helps 
us a lot. For nearly four months we have been under strength, 
doing the work of a full battalion and, as there has been a devil 
of a lot of work to do, it ! has been mighty tough on the men. How 
ever, they have been most wonderfully willing and cheerful and, 
besides their fighting record, have earned the reputation with the 
Engineers of being the best working Regiment in the Division." 

On arrival, the draft was placed temporarily under the conv 
mand of Lieuts. Aitchison and Bott, who themselves had just re 
ported from the Cadet School at G.H.Q. Later the newcomers 
were evenly divided between the companies. Battalion orders on 
the same date contained the announcement that Lieut. E. W. Waud 
was appointed Acting Quartermaster, vice Lieut. C. L. Cantley, 
transferred. 

Their five day tour completed, the Highlanders handed over to 
the 14th once more and proceeded to billets at Courte Dreve. Large 
working parties were a feature of the next four days, these at one 
time or another being under the command of Capt. C. T. Smith 
and Lieuts. Aitchison, Bott, Rust, Brittan, Mingo, Macpherson, 
Mathewson and Greenshields, the last named now quite recovered 
from the wound received at Ypres. 

At this time the announcement that Lieut. -Gen. E. A. H. 
Alderson had assumed command of the Canadian Army Corps 
signified to the men of the Canadian Division that a second Canadian 
Division had arrived in France. Simultaneously it was announced 
that Brig.-Gen. A. W. Currie, C.B., of the 2nd Brigade, had been 
promoted to Major-General to succeed General Alderson in com 
mand of what had hitherto been known in the field as the Canadian 
Division and would in future be referred to as the 1st. 

[70] 






MESSINES 

Following this interesting announcement the Royal Highlanders 
entered the line for a short tour in Trenches 135-137. After three 
days they were relieved by the Canadian Cavalry Brigade and 
moved back to Aldershot Camp, whence, on September 20th, they 
marched to Lindenhoek and relieved the 2nd Cheshires and the 
6th Welsh in the line. Headquarters were at Tea Farm. This 
move was made to facilitate the work of breaking in the new 2nd 
Canadian Division, units of which were on either side of the veteran 
3rd Brigade during the days that followed. 

From Sept. 20th to 24th the Battalion occupied this Lindenhoek 
front, being relieved by the 14th R.M.R. on the latter date and 
marching to billets in Locre. Proceeding on the 25th, the Battalion 
marched to Aldershot Camp, where the men were deeply interested 
in such news as reached them of British successes in the Battle 
of Loos. At 4.30 p.m. on the 26th they marched to Ploegsteert, 
"standing to" all day on the 27th and moving into the line at 7.30 
that night to relieve the 6th Buffs, of the 35th British Brigade, who 
were proceeding south to take part in the new battle. 

Six days were spent in the front line, during which instruction 
was given to officers and men of the llth Lanes. Fusiliers, a unit 
just arrived from England. On the night of October 1st a patrol, 
under Lieut. B. M. Giveen of the 13th and Lieut. Gallagher of the 
Lanes., made an exhaustive examination of No Man s Land and 
the condition of the German wire. On October 3rd the Lanes, took 
over the front and the 13th moved to billets at Courte Dreve. At 
this time Capt. G. E. McCuaig took command of No. 2 Coy. and 
Capt. C. J. Smith assumed the duties of Battalion Adjutant. 

II 

On October 4th the Royal Highlanders again took over trenches 
135, 136 and 137. From this time until the end of the year these 
trenches were held by the Battalion, alternating with the 14th 
Battalion R.M.R. Under the system then prevailing, four days 
constituted the regulation trench tour. Sometimes this was 
stretched to five and even six days to meet special circumstances, but 
four days was the accepted period in the front line, following 
which an equal time was spent in Brigade support, or reserve. The 
time out of the line, however, was not a period of rest. Working 
parties, consisting of every available officer and man, were called 
for night after night, while in the daytime work on the rear areas 

[71] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

and preparations for the next tour kept the men from making up 
arrears of badly needed rest. 

With almost clock-like regularity, then, the 13th during- the 
months that followed spent four days in and four days out of the 
line. When in, they occupied the trenches already mentioned ; when 
out, they were billeted at Courte Dreve, Red Lodge, or Kortepyp 
Huts. In the line, Battalion H.Q. was at Plus Douce Farm ; two 
companies occupied the fire trenches, one was in support at Stinking 
Farm and one in Battalion Reserve at Plus Douce Farm, or 
Fletcher s Field. 

While the sojourn of the 13th. Royal Highlanders in this vicinity 
was not marked by any of those glorious exploits that add Battle 
Honours to the Regimental Colours, it ranks, nevertheless, as one 
of the Battalion s best feats of endurance. Properly to understand 
the hardships of this period and to appreciate the dogged courage 
by which they were overcome, a knowledge of the topography of 
the country is necessary. Roughly speaking, Trenches 13 5-137 
occupied that part of the line which lay between the Wulverghem- 
Messines Road on the north and the Ploegsteert-Messines Road on 
the south, The front ran through the water-logged valley of the 
Douve and acted as a drain for Messines Ridge, occupied by the 
enemy, and for Hill 63 to the British rear. As a result of almost 
incessant rain, no amount of labour and revetting could prevent the 
trenches from falling in. Communication trenches, very necessary in 
a location such as this, where the enemy overlooks the country back 
of the front line, were practically impassable. Consequently, a net 
work of tracks led overland through the all-pervading mud and 
were used by ration and fatigue parties instead of the flooded trench 
system. 

The front line itself was a slimy ditch, where, at best, the men 
sank over their ankles and where, owing to the clinging powers of 
the local mud, an individual, once stuck, could release himself only 
with the greatest difficulty. It was not uncommon for men to sink 
to the waist in this muck and require assistance to get free. Deep 
dugouts were, of course, impossible, though "funk holes," dug in 
the side of the trench, were fairly numerous. These afforded little 
or no protection against missiles, but they did keep some rain off 
the men while sleeping. 

In the memories of officers and men the endless monotony and 
physical hardships, the continuous fatigues and the appalling weather 

[72] 






MESSINES 

of this period stand out so vividly as to overshadow the human 
enemy and all his works of destruction. Summing up warfare 
under such conditions, a French writer has given the following 
impression: "More than attacks more than visible battles war 
is frightful and unnatural weariness, water up to the belly, mud 
and infamous filth an endless monotony of misery, broken by 
poignant tragedies." 

All during this period, however, the spirit of the 13th was in no 
wise subdued. Discipline was excellent and, to quote an officer, 
"the men had their tails up throughout." Casualties as the result 
of enemy action were not heavy, though each tour added a few 
names to the ever growing roll. Sickness, as was but natural, 
increased, though the total losses through illness were not serious. 
Influenza of a fairly severe type made its appearance, temporarily 
disabling several officers and a score or more of the men ; other afflic 
tions were of a similar nature and were directly attributable to the 
conditions under which the men lived. As a point of interest in 
this connection, it may be noted that when the Battalion, in 
November, changed over for the winter from the kilt to trousers 
the number of sick was appreciably increased. 

On October 16th the 42nd Battalion, Royal Highlanders of 
Canada, arrived at the front and were initiated into the routine of 
trench warfare by their comrades of the 13th. The 42nd, then 
commanded by Lieut. -Col. G. S. Cantlie, had been raised by the 
5th Regiment, Royal Highlanders of Canada, in Montreal, and 
was consequently a "sister" battalion of the 13th. Eventually the 
42nd became a part of the 7th Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division, but 
pending the formation of this Division, they, with the Royal Cana 
dian Regiment, the Princess Patricia s Canadian Light Infantry and 
the 49th Edmonton Battalion, served as Corps troops. 

During the period that the 42nd was undergoing training by 
the 13th a most regrettable incident occurred when Capt. Leon 
Curry (42nd) and Capt C. H. Crowdy (13th) were killed by a 
trench mortar bomb which fell in the bay of their trench. The 
funeral of these two officers was held in Armentieres some few 
days later. Both Battalions were out of the line at the time and 
joined, with their pipe bands, in according the dead officers full 
military honours. 

On October 26th an aerial battle over the front line resulted in 
a German plane being brought down in rear of No. 4 Coy s, position. 

[73] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

The pilot of this plane was dead, but an observer, severely wounded, 
was made prisoner and taken to Brigade H.Q. Capt. G. D. Mc- 
Gibbon, of No. 4 Coy., secured a trigger camera from the captured 
machine, which, by one of those queer strokes of fate, was also 
found to carry a Colt machine gun, belonging to the 14th Battalion 
and captured at Ypres. Following the landing of this machine the 
Germans shelled the wreck with high explosive, to destroy the 
plane and inflict casualties amongst any who might attempt to 
salvage it. 

During November the routine already described continued. 
When out of the line, working parties were called for even more 
frequently and practically the whole Battalion, including officers, 
was out night after night. The nature of the soil and the steady 
rain rendered the work particularly exhausting, but it was urgent 
and could not be delayed, no matter how badly the men needed 
rest. The work, too, was not unattended by danger. On November 
2nd the Officer Commanding the 1st Field Company, Canadian 
Engineers, reported that Lieut. J. E. Christie, of the 13th, had been 
wounded while attached to his Company, and other casualties oc 
curred at intervals, though the total was not large. 

Early in the month Lieut. P. N. MacDougall and Lieut. W. F. 
Peterman joined the Battalion and were given commands in No. 
4 and No. 2 Companies respectively. Lieut. A. Routledge also joined 
at this time. About the middle of the month the Highlanders were 
much interested when the 7th British Columbia Battalion on the 
right of the 13th raided the enemy lines, inflicting losses and taking 
prisoners. This affair marked the revival and elaboration of a 
form of trench warfare employed with success by Indian battalions, 
near La Bassee, in 1914, and in which Canadian units from this 
time on were destined to become particularly adept. 

Towards the end of the month, during the absence on leave of 
Brig.-Gen. Leckie, Lieut.-Col. Loomis assumed command of the 
3rd Brigade, Major Buchanan taking over the 13th for the period 
of the Colonel s absence. 

Early in December one of those little personal tragedies was 
reported when a private, absent without leave, was found drowned 
in the Canal near Armentieres. Unimportant from a battalion 
point of view, this event is recorded in the diary without comment. 
The man s name, rank and regimental number are given and the 
fact that he was "found drowned." Very properly the diary has 

[74] 



MESSINES 

no imagination. It neither speculates nor is given to conjecture. 
It states facts, and leaves all else to its: readers. In this case the 
"facts" are all that is known. 

Christmas arrived in due course and found the Battalion oc 
cupying its familiar front in Trendies 135-137. Nos. 1 and 4 
Companies: were in the front line, No. 2 Coy. in support at Stinking 
Farm and No. 3 Coy. in Battalion Reserve at Higginson Avenue. 
The weather was fair and mild and during the day there was little 
activity. There was no fraternizing with the enemy, such as had 
occurred at various points on Christmas, 1914, but, to quote a letter: 
"while there was no cessation of hostilities, the customary hate 
was less intense/ 

Christmas dinner was, of course, somewhat of a problem. A 
dinner had been held on the 23rd, but everyone felt that some effort 
should be made to lift Christmas itself out of the rut and monotony 
of ordinary days. Company officers accordingly made such ar 
rangements as were possible. In No. 2 Coy. the party was not 
held till 11 p.m., for reasons which the following letter makes 
obvious. "We had planned our dinner for 7 p.m., but about 6 a 
batman came in and said, Will you smell this meat, sir. I didn t 
have to. Ugh! Our Christmas dinner! However, we waited till 
the rations came up at 9 o clock and had our dinner at 11 p.m. 
Near our dugouts there is a farm, which, strange to say, has one 
room almost untouched. We blocked up the windows, etc., and 
had a fine place in which we cooked, not only our own dinner, but 
steaks and fried potatoes for the men. Then we got the whole 
Company in, gave them their hot meal and that day s rum as well 
as the next, so everyone felt fine. Then we had a sing-song and 
everyone enjoyed their Xmas." 

Meanwhile in the front line all was quiet. In No Man s Land, 
however, a patrol, under Lieut. W. E. Macfarlane, and composed of 
Corp. A. A. Harper, Corp. E. H. Jarrett and 12 men, was busy. 
This patrol was out for nearly five hours. Lying close to the 
German line, they could at one time listen to the strains of Christmas 
celebrations from various directions. In the enemy trench a cornet 
player reminded his hearers of Christmases in pleasanter surround 
ings, while from the farm house, where No. 2 Coy. was feasting, 
came the sound of voices singing the familiar words of Loch 
Lomond." Far to the rear, too, from behind Hill 63, the pipers 
of the Canadian Scottish could be heard hard at it. 

| 75] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Shortly before midnight another patrol proceeded into No Man s 
Land to gather information. This party was 16 strong and was 
commanded by Lieut. J. H. Lovett. About 12.50 a.m. the patrol 
was challenged in German and fire opened on it from behind a hedge. 
Reply was at once made and groans suggested that one of the 
enemy was hit. Lovett s party suffered no losses. 

Patrolling continued to be a feature of this 5-day tour. On the 
night of the 26th Macfarlane and his party went out at 6 p.m. and 
remained out till 11. Lovett and his party then took up the work 
and patrolled for several hours. No enemy patrols were encoun 
tered. On the following night patrols were out constantly from 
6.30 o clock till 5 o clock in the morning. These worked in regular 
two hour "shifts," with an hour, or half an hour, in between. 
Lovett was out with seven men from 6.30 till 8.30. Corp. F. J. 
Reid went out with eight men at 9 p.m. and remained out till 11 
p.m. At midnight Macfarlane took out eight men and patrolled 
till 2 a.m. At 3 o clock this party went out again and remained out 
till nearly dawn. Enemy patrols, as on the previous night, were 
conspicuous only by their absence. 

Ill 

New Year s Eve, 1915, found the Royal Highlanders in billets 
at Red Lodge. The surroundings were not attractive, but every 
effort was made to make the occasion as agreeable as possible. 
Regret was mingled with all gaiety, however, as at midnight. Lieut. - 
Col. F. O. W. Loomis, D.S.O. bade the Battalion farewell, as he 
was leaving in the morning to assume command of a Reserve Bri 
gade in England. In accordance with custom the Colonel visited 
each hut where a celebration was in progress and said good-bye 
individually to all present. Col. Loomis had rendered devoted and 
conspicuous service while in command of the 13th and his pro 
motion to command a brigade could not have been long delayed, 
nevertheless the bond between him and his officers and men was 
strong and deep regret on both sides featured his departure. It 
was with pride, however, that the Highlanders followed his career 
during the years that followed. From Brigadier-General he rose 
to the rank of Major-General, in command of the 3rd Canadian 
Division; he was created a Knight Commander of the Bath and a 
Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. In ad 
dition he received from the French Government the Legion 

[76] 



MESSINES 

d Honneur (Croix d officier). As each of these honours fell to 
his lot the Highlanders rejoiced sincerely. When he was wounded 
at Vimy Ridge, they felt anxiety until assured that the injury was 
not serious. On his departure he handed over the Battalion to 
Major V. C. Buchanan, who, since the death of Major Norsworthy, 
had filled the post of second-in-command. Buchanan s place was 
in turn filled by Major G. E. McCuaig, while Capt. I. M. R. 
Sinclair, fully recovered from the wound received at Festubert, took 
over command of No. 2 Coy. On January 4th Lieuts. MacDougall 
and Routledge were transferred back to the 42nd Battalion, R.H.C. 
Lieut. Routledge was wounded the following autumn and died of 
his wounds on October 23rd, to the deep regret of both the 13th 
and 42nd. 

During January, 1916, the Royal Highlanders continued to al 
ternate with the 14th Battalion in the front line and reserve, the 
only change being that their front was in Trenches 136-141, instead 
of the old familiar 135-137. Patrols were again a feature of these 
tours, Lieut. Macfarlane and his party combing No Man s Land 
at all hours of the night. Occasionally these patrols were fired at, 
or bombed, but no enemy patrols were actually encountered. To all 
intents and purposes the Canadian mastery of No Man s Land was 
complete. 

On January 12th a diversion from the monotony of trench life 
was caused by a fire which broke out in St. Quentin s Farm at 5 
a.m. Flames rose thirty feet in the air and the sight was made more 
spectacular by the explosion of a large quantity of rifle ammunition 
and some bombs. This farm was situated to the left of the position 
occupied by the 13th and was in the possession of the 16th Bat 
talion. Fortunately few of its occupants were injured. 

On January 19th the Battalion was pleased by the announcement 
that Major W. H. Clark-Kennedy had been awarded the D.S.O. 
Clark-Kennedy had left the 13th to take a post on the staff of the 
3rd Brigade some months before this date, but the Highlanders 
still claimed him as their own and, as in the case of Col. Loomis, 
followed with pride the steps of his distinguished career. He held 
various appointments during- the years that followed and became, 
eventually, Lieut-Col., Commanding the 24th Battalion, Victoria 
Rifles of Canada. He was awarded the C.M.G., a bar to his D.S.O. 
and the French Croix de Guerre. Then, in 1918, during the "Hun 
dred Days " he won the Victoria Cross. On the same date that 

[77] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Clark-Kennedy s D.S.O. was announced, further distinction came 
to the Battalion when Sergt.-Major Neil Osborne, Lanee-Sergt. 
Jones, Corp. O. B. Krenchel and Private F. Ableson were awarded 
the D.C.M. 

With the advent of February the long series of trench tours was 

interrupted and the Battalion proceeded to rest billets, near 

Bailleul. Relieved on the evening of the 1st by the 5th Canadian 

Mounted Rifles, the Highlanders spent the night at Reel Lodge. 

Parading at 5 o clock the following morning they marched towards 

Bailleul, arriving at their billets some five hours later. Here they 

remained for three full weeks, "resting," technically, but actually 

busily employed. On the 3rd of the month a draft of 46 N.C.O s. 

and men was received and allotted to the companies. On the 4th 

and 5th passes were issued to a large number of the men to visit 

Bailleul, where they might find entertainment suited to their various 

tastes and inclinations. On the 8th General Alderson inspected the 

men, who were drilling by companies. On the 9th physical drill 

and company practice in assault filled the morning, while in the 

afternoon parties of 100 followed one another in rapid succession 

to the baths in the Asylum at Bailleul. The next day was largely 

devoted to inspections. Major Buchanan gave the Battalion a 

thorough going over, after which the men were inspected by Field 

Marshal Lord Kitchener, who was accompanied by Generals Plumer, 

Alderson and Currie. 

On the day following Major Buchanan received his promotion 
to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. News of this promotion, 
though expected, was received with genuine pleasure by all 
ranks of the Battalion. Lieut.-Col. V. C. Buchanan had 
served with the 13th from the beginning and at all times 
had commanded the respect and affection of his officers and 
men. Towards the latter he invariably exhibited a firm, but kindly 
and sympathetic interest. Of his officers he expected a high sense 
of duty and self sacrifice comparable to his own. As an actual 
instance of this, it is recorded that at about this time when new 
leather coats were issued from stores, a junior officer, wearing one, 
was interrogated by Col. Buchanan as to whether all the men of 
his platoon were similarly equipped. On receiving a negative reply, 
the C.O. ordered the junior to take the coat off and to see to it 
in the future that his men were equipped with any article before he 

drew one for himself. 

[78] 



MESSINES 

On February 13th and 14th the men were inoculated. On the 
15th and 17th the whole Battalion, including the Grenade Section, 
Machine Gunners, Stretcher Bearers and Signallers, practised 
attacking trenches. 

On the latter date Brig.-Gen. R. G. E. Leckie, C.M.G. was 
wounded and command of the 3rd Brigade passed temporarily 
to Lieut-Col. Marshall, O.C. the 15th Battalion (48th 
Highlanders), who continued to command until relieved by a 
senior officer, Brig.-Gen. G. S. Tuxford, C.M.G. 

Divine Service and Holy Communion, celebrated by Major Mc- 
Greer, featured the 20th. Route marches, bayonet drill, target 
shooting, lectures, reconnaissance and the inevitable working parties 
kept the men busy and filled in the time not already accounted for. 
On February 22nd the Battalion vacated the rest billets near 
Bailleul and moved to Red Lodge, as Brigade Reserve. Coincident 
with this move, news began to arrive of the battle which had opened 
at Verdun. After five days at Red Lodge, during which working 
parties were large and frequent, the Highlanders moved up into the 
line. Trenches 136-140 were occupied on this occasion and the 
routine of the previous autumn and early winter was resumed. 
Battalion Headquarters was moved, however, from Plus Douce 
Farm to Fisher s. Place. 

On the whole the front was more active than when the High 
landers had last visited it. Artillery fire was heavier and Lieut. 
Macfarlane found that his control of No Man s Land was no longer 
undisputed. Rifle and machine gun fire and trench mortar shelling 
were also more continuous. On February 29th aircraft were active 
all morning, while both sides shelled heavily in the afternoon. On 
the night of March 2nd Macfarlane and a patrol established contact 
with an enemy patrol, whom they bombed and forced to retire. Two 
nights later the Battalion was relieved and proceeded to Kortepyp 
Huts, where several promotions were announced, Lieut. F. S. 
Mathewson becoming Captain, vice Capt. G. E. McCuaig, promoted ; 
Capt. K. M. Perry becoming Major, vice Major V. C. Buchanan, 
promoted, and Lieut. J. D. Maepherson becoming Captain, vice 
Capt. K. M. Perry, promoted. At the same time Capt. E. W. 
Waud was transferred from No. 1 to No 4 Coy. 

On March 10th the Battalion entered Trenches 136-140 for a 
7-day tour. On the night of the llth a patrol, under Lieut. Mac 
farlane encountered an enemy patrol, which showed fight. The 

[79] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Highlanders patrol was very willing and attacked without delay, 
forcing the Germans back with bombs and rifle fire. Two of the 
enemy were wounded, as were two of the 13th patrol. On the fol 
lowing night a German patrol was again encountered in the same 
vicinity. This patrol was attacked and one man wounded. A 
German rifle, cap and pair of mittens were picked up where the 
wounded man had apparently dropped them. 

The 14th Canadian Battalion relieved the 13th on the night of 
March 17th, the companies of the Highlanders moving out inde 
pendently to billets at Red Lodge, where working parties were once 
more the order of the day. 



[80] 



CHAPTER VII 

Hill 60, The Bluff and Mount Sorrel 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses, row on row, 
That mark our place ; and in the sky 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 

-JOHN McCRAE. 



WHEN the trees began to bud and the increased heat of 
the sun proclaimed to the men of the Canadian Divisions 
that the spring of 1916 was at hand, the long monotony of 
trench tours on the Messines front came to an end. On March 
17th the Corps began to move north and exchange places with the 
British V. Corps, which was holding the southern curve of the 
Ypres Salient. This move was completed on April 8th, the actual 
change in command of the fronts taking place four days earlier. 

When spring became a reality, therefore, the whole Corps was 
up in the Salient, holding a position only a few miles from the spot 
where the 1st Division had withstood its fiery test in April of the 
previous year. Much water had flowed beneath the bridges since 
those days, but the Salient was the Salient still a place of deserv 
edly evil reputation, where hurricane bombardments swept out of 
a cloudless sky, where bloody encounters were the rule rather than 
the exception and where death was ever present, or just around the 
corner. 

Soon after arrival the 2nd Division became involved in an 
engagement, as dour and bitterly fought as any that had marked 
the war up to this time. It lasted for a month, during which the 
contesting lines swayed backward and forward, in and out of a 
series of mine craters at St. Eloi. Thousands of men died in. this 
battle and their mortal remains were swallowed up in the wreckage, 
ruin and indescribable mud. In the end the 2nd Division was 
blasted out of the positions it had held with such extraordinary 
tenacity, but these were so shattered and devastated that the enemy 

[81] 
6 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

found it well nigh impossible to occupy them. The Craters, there 
fore, became for the most part a No Man s Land, the last resting 
place of many brave men and the haunt of occasional prowling 
patrols. For the second time the Salient had given the men from 
Canada a bloody welcome. 

While these events were taking place on the 2nd Division s front, 
the units of the other Canadian Divisions had one by one been 
transferred northward. On March 23rd the 13th Battalion, Royal 
Highlanders of Canada, in billets at Red Lodge, was relieved by the 
9th Royal Sussex Regiment and marched at night to Meteren, where 
four days were spent in company training and route marching. 
Much time was also devoted to repairing clothing, which badly 
needed attention) after the hard service of the winter months. Com 
pany commanders, on the first day at Meteren, were ordered to pay 
particular attention to the condition of their men s feet, which, as 
the result of softening from months of mud and water, had caused 
much discomfort during the long march from Red Lodge. 

Continuing the move on the morning of the 28th, the High 
landers, together with the other units of the 3rd Brigade, passed 
through Bailleul and on to Locre, the pipe band leading the way. 
A brigade march, when accomplished in the daytime, always 
presents an inspiring sight. On reaching the top of a hill the men 
could see stretching back for miles the long lines of the battalions, 
moving in column of route and twisting like an enormous snake 
in and out amongst the hills. At 2 p.m. the 13th reached their 
destination, which proved to be Dickebusch Huts. Here the Bat 
talion settled down and promptly took advantage of the hours be 
fore dark to start baseball games and impromptu sports. Late in 
the afternoon passes arrived for two officers and seventeen men to 
go on leave. This brought up a serio-comic point, as the Battalion 
was in "trews" and several of the men stated quite flatly that they 
had no desire to visit England unless they could do so dressed in 
the kilt that was the proper uniform of a Royal Highland battalion. 
An appeal was made to Lieut.-Col. Buchanan and he, sensing the 
Regimental pride that lay behind the request, promptly ordered the 
Transport Officer to send back some 18 miles to the place where the 
kilts were stored and to bring up a sufficient number to equip all 
the party going on leave. The Transport had had a hard day, 
nevertheless the kilts were duly produced before the leave party 

set out at 11 p.m. 

[82] 



HILL 60, BLUFF AND MT. SORREL 

Looking back on the war, it seems hard to realize that steel 
helmets were not in use from the beginning. No one had foreseen 
the necessity for these, but experience taught that thin steel would 
deflect shrapnel and save many valuable lives. Accordingly steel 
helmets were adopted by all the armies and the British Army in 
the field was equipped with them at about this time. On March 
30th the company commanders of the 13th were instructed to see 
that all N.C.O s. and men were so equipped before moving into the 
line that same night. 

Parading in front of Dickebusch Huts at 6 p.m., the Battalion 
proceeded to Cafe Beige, where it was met by guides of the 6th 
Northumberland Fusiliers, w>ho led the way to Transport Farm, 
whence trench guides conducted the companies to their individual 
locations. The front taken over on this occasion stretched from 
Trench 37 left to Glasgow Cross Roads (exclusive). This 
position was flanked on the right by a railroad cutting, which ran 
through Hill 60 from the Canadian to the German lines. On the 
left flank was the 16th Battalion, connecting up with the 3rd 
Canadian Division, which, for the first time, was taking its place 
in line as a unit of the Canadian Corps. Nos. 1 and 2 Companies 
occupied the front line, supplying their own immediate supports; 
No. 3 Coy. was in support and No. 4 Coy. in reserve at Larchwood 
Dugouts. Battalion Headquarters was in dugouts in the Railway 
Embankment. 

In this position the Battalion remained till the night of April 
3rd, when it was relieved by the 14th Canadian Battalion. During 
the tour in the line there was considerable artillery activity and a 
general "liveliness" that had been missing on the Messines front, 
where weather and ground conditions had proved the principal 
enemy. Here, too, mining and counter mining work was in full 
sowing and the front line companies were called on to supply 
parties to assist the Tunnellers. Contrary to expectations, this 
work rather appealed to the men, who liked the idea of going down 
into a mine shaft that led beneath the German lines. 

A feature of this front w hich struck all ranks very forcibly 
was that the Germans had secured complete ascendency in the mat 
ter of sniping. Coming from the Messines front, where the as 
cendency had been their own, the Canadians bitterly resented this 
German superiority and took prompt measures to bring it to an 
end. New and carefully concealed sniping posts were built at night 

[83] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

and picked shots detailed to them, with the result that by the end of 
the tour the German superiority was less noticeable. When the 
Canadian batteries arrived in the Salient, they were more active 
in retaliation and counter-battery work than their predecessors 
had been and greatly helped the infantry to put the triumphant 
Hun in his proper place. Casualties in the 13th during this tour 
amounted to 5 killed and 15 wounded, amongst the latter being Coy. 
Sergt. -Major Race, of No. 4 Coy., who was wounded on the night of 
April 3rd while taking out men to guide in the relieving Battalion. 

From April 4th to 8th the Battalion occupied Dickebusch Huts. 
On April 6th the Huts were shelled, Privates Sherwood and McKay 
being- killed and one other wounded. Further casualties were 
avoided by the prompt action of Lieut.-Ool. Buchanan, who, at the 
first shell, ordered the men to vacate the huts and scatter in the 
adjoining fields. As a precaution in case the shelling should be 
repeated large working parties were employed on the 7th in digging 
shelter trenches, also in repairing the damage the shells had caused. 
That same afternoon passes to visit Poperinghe were granted to 25% 
of the officers and 5% of true men. In view of the fact that pay 
day had just occurred, those who secured passes were the envy 
of their less fortunate comrades. 

After four days at Dickebusch Huts, the Battalion moved to 
Divisional Reserve in the Hop Factory, south of Poperinghe Station. 
Here, on the 9th, Divine Services were held for both Protestants 
and Roman Catholics, after which passes to Poperinghe were issued 
to 20% of the Regimental strength. One officer, writing home, 
describes the chief feature of the day in Poperinghe as follows: 
"To-day, Sunday, I saw a wonderful sight. We are billeted in a 
fair sized town, well back, and the massed fife and drum bands of the 
Guards Division played Retreat. There were a couple of thousand 
troops in the Square listening our Brigade and Guardsmen. I was 
never so proud of our men as when I saw them alongside the Guards. 
They showed the latter that the Guards aren t the only smart 
troops in the field." On another evening the massed pipe bands 
of the 3rd Canadian Brigade and the Scots Guards, under the 
leadership of Pipe-Major D. Manson, of the 13th, played "Retreat" 
and made a most creditable showing. Protection against enemy 
aeroplanes was afforded to the thousands who attended this concert 
by British scouts who circled overhead. 

On April llth bayonet exercise, musketry practice and gas hel- 

[84] 



HILL 60, BLUFF AND MT. SORREL 

met drill took up the Battalion s time. In the evening Poperinghe 
was heavily shelled and a number of civilians killed. There were 
no casualties in the 13th. Measles broke out during the Battalion s 
stay at the Hop Factory, but prompt measures checked the disease 
and no drastic steps were necessary. On the 14th a party of 
six officers and three hundred men went forward at 7 p.m. to assist 
the Engineers in burying cable. This party worked all night and 
returned to billets at 3.30 in the morning. 

While this was the most important feature of the eight days at 
Poperinghe from a military point of view, those interested in sports 
will recall with enthusiasm that the Battalion football team, then at 
its very best, achieved a notable success in defeating the team of 
the 1st Coldstream Guards. Rugby enthusiasts will likewise recall 
the hard fought contest between the officers and men, while those 
whose interest was more for things theatrical will not soon forget 
the excellent soldiers troupe, "The Follies," which helped so 
materially to make the stay in Poperinghe enjoyable. 

II 

On April 15th reveille sounded at 6 a.m. and physical training 
occupied the time from 6.30 to 6.45. Holy Communion was cele 
brated at 9 a.m. and the day was spent in cleaning up billets prepar 
atory to a tour in the trenches. On this occasion the Royal High 
landers paraded at 6.30 p.m., marched to R.E. Dump and proceeded 
thence by tram line to Woodcote House, where trench guides were 
waiting to show the way to the new position. 

This position, known as "The Bluff," calls for some description. 
The Bluff itself was a long mound of earth, thrown up during the 
construction of the Ypres-Comines Canal. It ran parallel to the 
Canal on the north, or left, side. The opposing lines were astride 
the Canal, it must be understood, but that part of the British line 
taken over by the 13th was entirely on the left bank. In other 
words the Canal formed the Battalion s right flank. The front 
was not la connected line, but a series of positions joined together 
by roundabout communication trenches. In that side of the Bluff 
next the Canal were two tiny trenches, one behind the other, known 
respectively as "New Year Trench" and "New Year Support." Op 
posite these, on the side of the Bluff away from the Canal, was a 
longer trench, which, from its somewhat curved shape, was called 
"The Loop." Some distance to the left of the Loop again were 

[85] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

"The Pollock" arid "The Bean," two very exposed trenches, one 
in rear of the other. Between the Loop on the one side and the 
Bean and Pollock on the other ran "International" trench, which, 
as the result of many fierce struggles and bombardments was almost 
obliterated and altogether impassable. Communication between 
these positions was possible, therefore, only by using the roundabout 
communication trenches already mentioned. 

At the forward end of the Bluff itself was a large crater ; from 
there an exposed path led up to Thames Street, a deep communica 
tion trench following the top of the Bluff to "Gordon Post/ whence 
it was possible to reach Battalion Headquarters, still further back, 
without going below ground. One tunnel cut transversely through 
the Bluff 125 yards from the front line, and another 650 yards 
further back; these connected with a complicated system of mine 
galleries and dugouts. 

On the night of April 15th, when the Royal Highlanders took 
over this position from the Royal Montreal Regiment, No. 1 Coy., 
under Capt. M. Greenshields, occupied front line trenches extend 
ing to the left of the Pollock and the Bean ; No. 2 Coy., under Capt. 
I. M. R. Sinclair, occupied New Year Trench, New Year Support 
and Gordon Post, with 3 small posts of 19 bombers in all in the 
Crater; No. 3 Coy., under Capt. H. D. Ives, took over the Loop 
and adjoining trenches, while No. 4 Coy., under Capt. G. D. Mc- 
Gibbon, occupied the Pollock and the Bean. Battalion Head 
quarters, as has been stated, was established in somewhat flimsy 
dugouts in the north bank of the Bluff. 

Shortly after dawn on the 16th, Major G. E. McCuaig, who was 
in command of the Battalion during the absence on leave of Lieut- 
Col. V. C. Buchanan, was forcibly reminded that this was an 
"active" sector when a sniper spotted him making a tour along the 
Loop and put a bullet in and out of his steel helmet, inflicting a 
slight wound. As a result of this tour McCuaig made a few minor 
changes in the dispositions of the companies, utilizing the two ends 
of the emergency tunnel through the Bluff to shelter parties who 
could be used to reinforce the front line or deliver counter attacks 
as might be required. 

During April 16th there was artillery activity on both sides. 
In the morning the enemy fired about thirty rounds of high explosive 
into a trench on No, 3 Coy s, front, smashing in the parapet, bury 
ing a machine gun and causing several casualties, while later in 

[86] 



HILL 60, BLUFF AND MT. SORREL 

the day an automatic trench thrower projected a series of bombs 
into Hedge Row, a trench held by No. 4 Coy. Here, however, 
the damage was slight. Casualties for the day totalled 3 killed 
and 6 wounded. 

For the next forty-eight hours there was considerable shelling, 
counter-shelling and sniping. To the south of the Canal, the 2nd 
Division front received a severe shelling on the 17th. During the 
two days in question the 13th had 5 men killed and 16 wounded. 

On April 19th, late in the afternoon, the enemy opened a heavy 
trench mortar bombardment of the Pollock, the Bean and other 
trenches in the same vicinity, also of the Crater, with the result 
that communication between Nos. 1 and 4 Companies was severed al 
most at once. At 7.45 p.m., after firing a large number of green 
signal rockets and after about fifteen minutes of extraordinary quiet, 
the trench mortar bombardment of the Pollock and the Bean was 
superseded by an intense artillery bombardment of the whole front. 
Simultaneously the enemy opened a heavy fire on the front of the 
2nd Division to the south. 

For an hour and a half the 13th front was subjected to a whirl 
wind bombardment, after which the barrage was lifted and con 
siderably slowed down. At this stag^e a party of approximately 25 
Germans effected an entrance into the Crater, the small garrison of 
which had suffered severely during the bombardment. With all their 
reserve bombs buried by shell fire and with no other means of 
resistance, four wounded men in No. 1 Post were made prisoner. 
The only unwounded man escaped and made his way to New Year 
Trench, reporting to No. 2 Coy. what had occurred. After cleaning 
up No. 1 Post, the Germans proceeded to No. 2, where they cap 
tured two or three wounded men, the others being killed. Proceed 
ing to No. 3 Post, the enemy at last encountered opposition. Here 
two men were left unwounded and these put up a stubborn fight, 
killing the officer of the attacking party and driving off his men. 
Later the Germans returned with a lamp to search for the body of 
their officer, but were again driven off by the same two men, who 
threw all their remaining bombs. The anxiety of the Germans to 
recover fhe body was explained later when it was found that this 
young subaltern of the 123rd German Grenadier Regiment had 
carried into action on his person complete orders for the occupation 
of the Highlanders line. 

Owing to the isolated position of the Crater, details of what 

[87] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

was transpiring there were quite unknown at Battalion, or even 
Company, Headquarters. When telephone lines were cut to all 
stations, except Gordon Post, McCuaig, who feared that the bom 
bardment would be used to cover something in the nature of an 
attack, ordered Capt. Sinclair to send forward a strong party to 
defend the crest of the Bluff at all costs. This party, which was 
gallantly led by Lieut. A. W. Aitchison, advanced under heavy fire 
and suffered sharp losses. On arriving at the crest of the Bluff 
Lieut. Aitchison was informed by Capt. Mathewson, in New Year 
Trench, of what had happened in the Crater. New Year itself 
had been heavily shelled and none of the depleted garrison could be 
spared to hold the Crater. Accordingly, as soon as the Canadian 
artillery barrage was lifted off the Crater, Aitchison led his party 
forward and occupied it. For his courage in leading his party 
through the enemy barrage and for his work in occupying the 
Crater, he was awarded a well deserved M.C. 

Investigation now showed that the Battalion s heaviest losses 
had occurred in the Pollock and the Bean during the trench mortar 
bombardment early in the evening. The dead and wounded of No. 
4 Coy. were strewn along these trenches, which were battered beyond 
all recognition. Buried in the ruins of his concrete dugout was 
Capt. G. D. McGibbon, the Company Commander, who died shortly 
after being released from the wreckage which pinned him down. 

Evacuation of the dead and wounded was difficult, ais the mud 
in some places was very deep, especially near the Loop. Here a 
man would sink up to his thighs in a few moments. As always, 
though, the stretcher bearers gave unstintingly of their best and, 
though the evacuation of a single case sometimes took hours, no 
wounded man was left a moment longer than was necessary. That 
the Canadian Artillery retaliated successfully was proved next day 
when observers reported that many wounded Germans were carried 
out from their front line. Apparently these had been massed ready 
to occupy the Highlanders line had the raid on the Crater provided 
a satisfactory opportunity, and had been caught by the counter 
barrage which the Canadian guns laid down. 

Amongst the wounded in the 13th were Capt. W. F. Peterman, 
Lieut. F. J. Rowan and Lieut. E. W. Mingo, all of No. 3 Coy. 
Of these, the last named, who was hit while on a reconnaissance, 
showed courage in getting back with his report after being wounded. 
Lieut. J. H. Lovett was also wounded, while Capt. H. D. Ives, O.C. 

[88] 



HILL 60, BLUFF AND MT. SORREL 

No. 3 Coy., was blown up and badly shocked by a bursting shell. 
At Gordon Post Lieut. W. E. Macfarlane was, knocked unconscious 
by a heavy shell, which exploded within a few feet of his head. 
This occurred at about 10 p.m. and Macfarlane did not regain 
consciousness until 8 o clock on the following morning. When he 
did come to, it was suggested that he go out to hospital, but he 
refused to consider the proposal and insisted upon doing his turn 
of duty that same afternoon. 

At the very height of the bombardment a runner wormed his 
way through the barrage and reported to Battalion H.Q. with a 
message which, it seemed, was urgent. On opening the envelope, 
officers were amazed to find that it contained a routine order con 
cerning the detailing of two men to attend a course at the Scout 
School. When the barrage was lifted off the 13th front at about 
9.15 p.m., urgent calls were at once sent out for working parties to 
repair the battered trenches. These were quickly supplied by other 
battalions of the 3rd Brigade, under the personal command of 
Lieut.-Col. Marshall, of the 15th (48th Highlanders), and under 
the supervision of Major Fell and Lieut. E. P. Fetherstonhaugh, 
of the Canadian Engineers. Working at high pressure all night, 
these parties had the line in reasonably good shape before dawn. 

Writing of the bombardment and of the defence of the Crater 
in a letter, an officer of the Battalion refers with pride to the splen 
did behaviour of the men. "It was," he says, "the most intense 
bombardment we have had yet. Our men were simply wonderful. 
Ever since our old Regiment was cut up last year we have all been 
saying that the new men were not a patch on the old ones. This 
affair showed us how wrong we were. It was the old 13th all over 
again right there in a pinch." 

On the following day the 3rd Brigade Staff offered to have the 
14th Battalion relieve the 13th for the remainder of the regular 8- 
day tour. The Officer Commanding the 13th expressed his ap 
preciation of this offer, but stated that the Royal Highlanders pre 
ferred to remain until their tour was completed. An offer of the 
14th Battalion to lend the 13th several officers to replace casualties 
was gratefully accepted. During the remainder of the tour the 
front was "active," but there was no repetition of the hurricane 
bombardment of the 19th. I/ieut.-Col. Buchanan came back from 
leave and took over from Major McCuaig. 

On April 22nd, the anniversary of the Battalion s first great 

[89] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

light at Ypres, Lieut. C. M. Horsey, an original officer who had 
rejoined after being wounded at Festubert in May, 1915, was killed 
while acting in the capacity of Brigade Stokes Gun Officer. Al 
together the casualties of the Battalion from the beginning of the 
tour up to the night of April 23rd, when it was relieved by the 14th 
Battalion, totalled 9 officers and 164 men. Of these, 2 officers and 
36 men were killed, 8 men were missing, 2 officers and 12 men were 
suffering from severe concussion, while the balance of the number 
were wounded. In addition to these the Highlanders learned with 
regret that Lieut. Peerless and Lieut. Curzon Morrow, both former 
members of the 13th, had been killed while serving with other units. 

Ill 

When the 14th took over the Bluff Sector, the 13th moved to 
Dickebusch Huts, the arrival at this spot at 4 a.m. on the 24th being 
marked by an enemy air raid, which, fortunately, did little damage. 
Here the Battalion remained for over a week, special attention being 
paid to getting the men s feet in good condition after the mud of 
the trenches. On the 25th Lieut. C. D. Craig, formerly Pay 
Sergeant, was appointed Paymaster of the Battalion to succeed 
Major R. H. Jamieson. At night, on the same date, a working 
party of four officers and two hundred men proceeded to the front 
line to assist the Engineers. Similar, and even larger, parties were 
provided on the nights of the 26th, 27th and 30th. On April 26th 
a Roman Catholic service was held in the Officers Mess, Father 
Killoran officiating. On the following day winter was officially 
admitted to be over, trousers were turned into stores and kilts were 
issued to the men once more. 

At 7.30 p.m. on May 1st the Battalion left Dickebusch Huts and 
proceeded to Dominion Lines, arriving an hour and a half later. 
Seven days were spent in this location, featured on May 4th by a 
working party of 10 officers and 500 men to assist the Engineers 
in burying cable; on the 5th by an inspection by General Currie, 
who complimented the men on their steadfastness at the Bluff; on 
the 7th by another working party of 8 officers and 250 men to bury 
cable; and on the 8th by the arrival of a draft of reinforcements 
from England. Included in this were Lieuts. Gibson, Melrose, 
Roach, Prosser, Selby, Green, Brown and D. R. M. McLean. 

On the night of May 9th the Battalion moved up and took over 
Trenches 45 to 51 from the 4th Canadian Battalion. This sector 

[90] 



HILL 60, BLUFF AND MT. SORREL 

was on the German side of Square Wood and Armagh Wood, with 
the left flank on the high ground, known as Mount Sorrel, and the 
right flank on Hill 60. It was a particularly black night when the 
relief took place and the maze of old trenches, wire and uprooted 
trees made matters difficult, nevertheless the relief was completed 
at 1.20 a.m. without casualties. The fact that the front line trenches 
smelt most unpleasantly of high explosive, however, gave fail- 
warning, had any been needed, that the sector was not to be regarded 
as a quiet" one. 

Daylight revealed the fact that the front line trenches were rather 
badly battered and that a long stretch of trench, completely broken 
down, separated the positions of the two front line companies, 
rendering communication difficult. The reserve trenches in Armagh 
Wood and Square Wood were in better condition, while in many 
places the long grass and the bright scarlet of the famous Flanders 
poppies made the scene not altogether unattractive. For the first 
few days of the tour the 42nd Battalion, Royal Highlanders of 
Canada, held the 13th s left flank. This was the first occasion that 
the sister battalions had served side by side. 

Observation from this series of trenches was excellent and, 
almost for the first time in their career, the Highlanders found 
themselves overlooking the enemy lines. Lieut. B. M. Giveen, the 
Battalion Bombing Officer, was quick to take advantage of this 
situation, hammering the Germans with rifle grenades whenever the 
moment seemed auspicious. 

This same officer and Major McCuaig took up a position in the 
front line one night to witness the action of a cement bomb, the 
invention of the Bombing Sergeant, w hich was to be propelled by 
a trench catapult into the enemy lines. At a given signal the 
Sergeant opened fire, but, after the first bomb had burst about 
twenty feet in front of the expectant pair and the second, which 
fortunately was a "dud," had landed a few feet behind them, fur 
ther demonstration was called off. On the whole it seemed safer 
to the observers to postpone the use of this deadly weapon till such 
time as its trajectory could be predicted with some degree of con 
fidence. The Sergeant was disappointed, but the officers were 
firm quite firm and could not be induced to take up a post for 
any further demonstrations. 

On the whole this was a normal trench tour in an "active" 
sector. Patrols were out on several occasions and one, under Corp. 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Murney, encountered and dispersed an enemy working- party. 
Another, under Lieut. B. H. Rust and Sergt. McKay, made a careful 
examination of a portion of the German front and brought in val 
uable information. Shelling during- the whole tour was not in 
frequent and one afternoon part of No. 2 Coy. in reserve in 
Armagh Wood, was treated to a brisk bombardment. On this 
occasion Capt. I. M. R. Sinclair, the Company Commander, suffered 
his second wound of the campaign, which fortunately was not 
serious. 

On the night of May llth Lieut. A. W. Aitchison was making 
a round of his listening posts when a bullet struck him and shat 
tered his thigh. Capt. Ramsay, the Battalion Medical Officer, im 
provised an excellent splint and Lieut. Aitchison was hurried back 
to a Casualty Clearing Station. Here everything possible was done 
for him, but he failed to rally and died of his wounds two days 
later. Referring to his death, the Listening Post," a trench 
magazine, quoted the following lines, which, in the opinion of his 
brother officers, were singularly appropriate: 

"E en as he trod that day to God, so walked he from his birth, 
In simpleness and gentleness and honour and clean mirth." 

In spite of the fact that the Battalion was in the front line, 
night working parties were on several occasions furnished to the 
Engineers. One or two casualties occurred on these parties, which 
worked in rather exposed locations. Casualties for the tour num 
bered fifteen; six killed and nine wounded. 

When the Royal Highlanders moved back, on May 17th, for a 
week in reserve positions, the companies and Battalion Headquarters 
were located respectively at Sunken Road-Verbrandenmolen, 
Blawepoort Farm, Woodcote House, Canal Dugouts and Swan 
Chateau. 

Swan Chateau had once been a lovely old place indeed. War 
had laid a heavy hand upon it, had battered in its roof and shat 
tered its stately trees; had dug great gaping holes in its green 
lawn and caved in the banks of its old fashioned moat. The swans, 
from which it derived its name, had perished, or disappeared, as 
had its human inhabitants, nevertheless it still retained more than a 
little of its dignity and former grandeur. Now, instead of swans, 
officers of a strange race swam in its moat, where shell holes had 
deepened the bottom. Other officers paddled about in an old punt 

[92] 



HILL 60, BLUFF AND MT. SORREL 

and in improvised "canoes," while still others bathed under the 
blue sky in a bath that had been carefully lowered from the wreck 
of the Chateau s top storey. Through it all the old Chateau main 
tained a friendly, if slightly puzzled, air, as if to say, "These men 
are strange, and I am not accustomed to naked figures on my stately 
lawns, nevertheless they are a gentle race and bear the title of a 
Royal battalion. Also they fight for France, and therefore I bid 
them welcome. C est la guerre !" 

During the week that the Highlanders remained in these posi 
tions, working parties at night were the undoubted feature. These, 
consisting of practically every available officer and man, worked 
under the supervision of the Engineers in, or near, the front line. 
At this time the Engineers were covering the greater part of the 
front with a network of buried cable, experience having shown that 
surface wires of communication were almost invariably cut just at 
the moment when they were most needed. It was in this task, 
then, that the majority of the Highlanders working- parties were 
employed. A great deal of work was done in Square Wood and 
most of those who laboured and sweated in that locality will recall 
the nightingale which sang sweetly as they dug beneath her favour 
ite tree, oblivious apparently, as the men were not, to the shells 
which every now and again crashed in amongst the branches. 

Apart from working- parties, the outstanding event of the tour 
occurred on the night of May 22nd when No. 2 Coy., temporarily 
under the command of Capt. F. S. Mathewson, became involved 
in what might be termed a "private war" between the enemy artil 
lery and some guns of the Lahore Division. This bombardment 
began when a stray shell exploded some of the Lahore ammunition, 
setting fire to the out-house in which this was stored. Seeing that 
they had located a battery, the enemy opened an intense fire with 
high explosive, knocking out three of the Lahore guns and wound 
ing or killing about 50% of the Battery personnel. From the 
positions of the other companies of the 13th it seemed that No. 
2 must be annihilated, as a veritable storm of high explosive tore 
the neighbourhood of Blawepoort Farm to bits. As was so often 
the case, however, No. 2 Coy., while having a most unpleasant time, 
was not suffering severe casualties. A few men were knocked out 
by concussion and one or two were wounded, otherwise, when the 
bombardment ended, No. 2 was in as good condition as before it 
had begun. For the whole tour, including this bombardment and 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

the various working parties, the Battalion s losses were 6 killed 
and 18 wounded. 

Late on the night of May 25th, after relief by the 8th Canadian 
Battalion, the 13th proceeded to Patricia Lines as Corps Reserve. 
In this location the Highlanders remained for a week. On May 26th 
they rested; on the 27th they were paid, while on the same night 
five officers and three hundred men, under Major Perry, 
proceeded to the neighbourhood of the Asylum, near Ypres, to bury 
cable. This party was officially thanked by the Divisional Signal 
Officer and the Engineers, who stated that they could ask for no 
better battalion to work with than the 13th. On the night of May 31st 
another large party, under Major McCuaig, proceeded forward and 
rendered equally valuable assistance. 

As an offset to the hard and unpleasant work of these parties, 
passes to visit Poperinghe were granted to a large percentage 
of the men at one time or another during the week that the Battalion 
remained in Corps Reserve. Officers and men alike appreciated this 
privilege and the pockets of the hardy Poperinghers were con 
siderably enriched by their liberal spending. 

Meanwhile, on May 28th, General Alderson had handed over 
command of the Canadian Corps; to Lieut.-Gen. the Hon. Sir Julian 
H. G. Byng, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., M.V.O., late commander of the 
IX Corps. This officer, whose Regiment was the 10th Royal Hus 
sars, had seen a great deal of service in the Soudan and in South 
Africa. He had distinguished himself in France in command of the 
3rd Cavalry Division of the "Old Contemptibles" and, later, had 
rendered valuable service in Gallipoli. His reputation in conse 
quence of these services was such that, when he assumed command 
of the Canadian Corps, all ranks were satisfied that they would be 
led by a hand no less experienced and true than that of the 
General who was leaving them. 



194] 



CHAPTER VIII 

The June Show, 1916 

In lonely watches night by night 
Great visions burst upon my sight 
For down the stretches of the sky 
The hosts of dead go marching by. 

Dear Christ, who reign st above the flood 
Of human tears and human blood, 
A weary road these men have trod, 
O house them in the home of God! 

FREDERICK GEORGE SCOTT. 



NOT long after Sir Julian Byng assumed command of the 
Canadian Corps, the Ypres Salient, living up to its volcanic 
reputation, burst into full eruption once more and again a 
Canadian division was called on to block the German road to Ypres. 
This time the attack struck the 3rd Canadian Division which was 
occupying the line from Bellewaarde Beek to Mount Sorrel. Sharp 
at 8 a.m. on June 2nd, the bombardment heralding the attack began. 
For months the intensity of artillery fire had been increasing, until 
even a small attack at this time was preceded by shelling that would 
have been considered phenomenal a year before. In this case, 
however, no small attack was intended and the concentration of guns 
that poured shells on the Canadian lines was such as no British 
troops had seen before. 

Along the whole Bellewaarde Beek- Sanctuary Wood Hill 62, 
Hill 61 Armagh Wood Mount Sorrel front, the Canadian line 
was simply obliterated. Major-General Mercer, commanding the 
3rd Division, was killed and Brigadier-General Victor Williams, of 
the 8th Brigade, was made prisoner. The 4th Canadian Mounted 
Rifles suffered 637 casualties and were practically annihilated; the 
1st Canadian Mounted Rifles had a casualty list of 367, which in 
cluded amongst the killed Lieut. -Col. A. E. Shaw, the Commanding 
Officer; Lieut.-Col. G. H. Baker, of the 5th Canadian Mounted 

[95] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Rifles was killed, as was Lieut.-Col. C. H. Buller of the P.P.C.L.T. 
Seventeen out of the twenty-two officers of the "Patricia s" were 
also casualties; while the 42nd Battalion, Royal Highlanders of 
Canada, the 49th Edmonton Battalion, the 2nd Canadian Mounted 
Rifles, the Royal Canadian Regiment, and numerous other units lost 
heavily, either in the bombardment, or the counter attacks that 
developed later. 

By noon, four hours after the bombardment began, the whole 
Canadian front and reserve system had been torn and devastated 
till it was well nigh unrecognizable. Then, at 1.45 p.m., the Ger 
mans launched their assault. This penetrated the broken front with 
little difficulty, but encountered determined resistance on reaching 
the support line in Sanctuary Wood, Armagh Wood and Mount 
Sorrel. Here the fighting was of the bitterest nature possible. 
Outnumbered, and at a disadvantage in every way, the Canadian 
units fought desperately and devotedly to prevent the enemy from 
penetrating through the reserve system and turning the flanks of the 
troops on either side. Nevertheless, when General Mercer s death 
was more or less established and General Hoare-Nairn, C.R.A. of the 
Lahore Artillery, assumed command of the 3rd Canadian Division 
late in the afternoon, the situation, though somewhat improved by 
the stubborn resistance and by local counter attacks, was still 
critical. Another strong attack, it seemed, must burst through the 
weakened lines which alone barred the road to Ypres. A counter 
attack with fresh troops was essential to prevent this calamity and 
orders were promptly issued summoning up such reserves as were 
available. 

Far back of the front, at Patricia Lines, the 13th Battalion was 
enjoying a sports day when the "stand to" order was received. 
This arrived late in the afternoon and was followed before long by 
orders for the Battalion to proceed without delay to support an 
attack by the 14th and 15th Battalions. 

In accordance with these orders, the 13th paraded at 7.30 p.m. 
and immediately started a forced march towards the front. Strain 
ing every nerve to increase speed, the Battalion omitted the regular 
halts, stopping only once, at Ouderdom, where Lieut.-Col. Buchanan 
ordered the men to leave their packs, thus lightening the load for 
the work that lay before them. 

Gun flashes were by this time playing like a thunderstorm in 
the blackness of the sky ahead, but the Battalion did not come 

[96] 



THE JUNE SHOW, 1916 

under enemy fire until it reached the bridge across the Ypres- 
Comines Canal. Here shrapnel was bursting- with great regularity, 
the enemy clearly realizing that the point was one which reinforce 
ments for the line would have to pass. Unable to await a pause 
in this shelling, the Highlanders pushed through. It was impos 
sible to go through without casualties, however, and no miracle 
occurred to save the 13th from losses. Caught by a particularly 
heavy burst, Lieut. D. R. M. McLean was severely wounded, while 
the Bombing Section suffered casualties to almost 50% of its 
personnel. 

After passing this unpleasant spot, the Battalion advanced as 
rapidly as the shelling and congestion of traffic allowed, until Zille- 
beke Trench was reached. In this trench, which ran along- the 
shore of Zillebeke Lake, the 13th got badly mixed up with the 14th 
and 15th, whose attack the 13th and 16th were to support. Streams 
of wounded, making their way to the rear, added to the congestion 
until it was almost impossible to move. 

From Zillebeke Trench the men of the 13th tried to find a 
route across the open that would bring- them speedily to the position 
they were to occupy near Manor House. For a while every effort 
met with failure, the men sinking to their waists in the marsh land 
that intervened. Eventually, after day had broken, and after 
being on the move for over eight hours, a way was found and the 
companies distributed along the hedges in their proper positions. 

The counter-attack which now took place had originally been, 
planned for 2 a.m., but, owing to the impossibility of getting the at 
tacking troops into position, the hour for the assault had been post 
poned until 7.10 a.m. On the right the 7th Battalion, with the 10th in 
close support, was to advance and retake the ground from Mount 
Sorrel to Observatory Ridge. In the centre the 15th and 14th 
Battalions, supported respectively by the 16th and 13th were to 
recapture Hill 62. On the left, and not in immediate contact with 
these attacks, the 49th and 60th Battalions, with the 52nd in close 
support, were to retake the front from Hill 62 to a point where 
the Royal Canadian Regiment still held its original position near 
Hooge. 

Various changes in the plans for this counter-attack took place 
and it was not until approximately 8.15 a.m. that the 14th and 15th 
Battalions got away. Immediately these battalions came under a 
heavy and concentrated fire. They pushed their attack with the 

[97] 
7 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

utmost disregard of losses, but the objectives assigned to them 
were impossible to attain and, after an advance of some 500 yards, 
they were compelled to establish a line, which ran roughly parallel 
to the front of Maple Copse. Elsewhere the counter-attack was 
but little more successful in attaining its final objectives. Inas 
much as it established links across some of the more dangerous gaps 
in the secondary system of defence, however, it cannot be regarded 
as a total failure. 

All day on June 3rd the 13th Battalion worked hard digging 
trenches. Rations were eaten cold, as fires would have betrayed the 
position and invited unwelcome shelling. At dusk a general move 
forward was made, No. 1 Coy. moving up to the rear of Maple 
Copse, No. 2 Coy. to Zillebeke Village, and No. 4 Coy. to Valley 
Cottages. No. 3 Coy. remained in support at Manor Farm. 

These company moves were carried out under a heavy enemy bar 
rage, which caused some 40 or 50 casualties. Included amongst the 
wounded was Capt. J. Jeffery, M.C., an officer who, first as Regi 
mental Sergeant-Major and then with commissioned rank, had 
rendered valuable service during the whole period of the Battalion s 
career in France. Capt. E. W. Waud was also wounded at this 
time, as was Lieut. W. E. Macfarlane, who had suffered previously 
in the Battalion s April engagement at the Bluff. Capt. J. O. 
Hastings, who had been the Battalion s Transport Officer from the 
beginning, was also a casualty on this night. While bringing the 
ration wagons up through the enemy barrage, his horse was killed 
under him and he himself severely wounded. 

Previous to this the Battalion had suffered a severe loss when a 
shell burst among a group of four officers, who were on a 
reconnaissance in the front line, and killed Capt. Melville Green- 
shields, an original officer, who had been wounded at Second Ypres 
and who, throughout the whole campaign, had rendered untiring 
and efficient service. The same shell wounded Capt. W. F. Peter- 
man, who had barely recovered from a previous wound received 
at the Bluff, in April. 

During June 4th the men of the Battalion could accomplish little, 
owing to the atrocious weather and the necessity of exposing them 
selves as little as possible. At night, however, working parties 
were active, while No. 3 Coy. moved up and relieved No. 1 Coy. 
in the position behind Maple Copse. All ranks of the Battalion 
were pleased at news received during the day that the Commanding 

[98] 



THE JUNE SHOW, 1916 

Officer, Lieut-Col. V. C. Buchanan, had been awarded the D.S.O. 
This item was the one bright spot in a bleak and decidedly un 
pleasant day. 

On June 5th the weather was still wet and the dugouts and 
trenches were in a fearful state of mud. Shelling was brisk, par 
ticularly on No. 3 Coy s, front, where considerable damage was 
done to the trenches and some casualties inflicted. A conference 
of commanding officers met at Battalion Headquarters on this date 
and completed arrangements for a counter-attack on the German 
lines at 1 a.m. on June 8th. 

On June 6th the weather cleared and by mid-day the men had 
dried their clothes, though conditions under foot remained atrocious. 
There was considerable aerial activity all day, during which time 
the Battalion remained prepared for an enemy attack, which did not 
develop. At night parties were busy carrying supplies, working in 
the front line and strengthening the position in the rear of Maple 
Copse. 

After a few hours of sunshine on the 6th, the weather again 
changed and on the 7th the men were treated to> a steady drizzle 
of rain. This weather prevented aeroplane observation, which in 
turn stopped the Artillery from registering- on the new German 
line. Accordingly the counter-attack, planned for June 8th, was 
postponed and at night the 22nd French-Canadian Battalion relieved 
the 13tb, the latter proceeding to Dickebusch Village, whence busses 
conveyed the weary men to "I" Camp, near Reninghelst. Casual 
ties during the tour amounted to 7 officers and 125 men, a heavy 
list considering the fact that the Battalion had not taken part in 
the actual assault. 

II 

Having arrived at "I" Camp, the 13th Battalion without delay 
prepared for the counter-attack, which had been postponed from 
the 8th and was now scheduled to take place early on the morning 
of June 13th. 

On June 8th company parades were held in the afternoon to 
inspect rifles and gas helmets. All defective rifles were turned over 
to the Armourer for immediate repair and unsatisfactory gas 
helmets were replaced. On the following day the Battalion en 
joyed the use of the baths at Reninghelst and elsewhere, while on 
the 10th a close inspection was made of grenade aprons revolvers 

[99] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Very pistols, shrapnel helmets and all equipment of this kind. Rifles 
were again inspected on this date and numerous promotions were 
announced amongst the N.C.O s. Under date of June 12th, the 
Corps Commander approved the appointment to acting commissioned 
rank of Corp. H. R. Monsarrat, Sergt. G. L. Earle, Lance-Corp. S. 
Reaume, Sergt. W. J. Anderson and Sergt. D. S. Grieve. 

June llth was devoted to final preparations for the counter 
attack. Aeroplane photographs had been obtained by this time 
and a large map was prepared, showing every possible feature of 
the ground to be fought over. Lectures were delivered on the 
attack and care was taken that every officer and N.C.O. should 
be made aware of the part that he personally was to take, as well 
as of the general plan. In this way it was hoped that, on an officer, 
or N.C.O. becoming a casualty, someone who knew exactly what 
was expected would be found to "carry-on." 

In general outline, the scheme of attack was as follows. The 
assault was timed for 1.30 a.m. on June 13th and the honour of 
carrying it out was assigned to the 1st Canadian Division, under 
Major-General A. W. Currie. For the occasion the brigades of the 
Division were re-shuffled to meet special requirements. Thus, on 
the right, Brig.-Gen. Lipsett had a brigade composed of the 1st, 
3rd, 7th and 8th Battalions, while on the left Brig.-Gen. Tuxford 
commanded a force consisting of the 2nd, 4th, 13th and 16th Bat 
talions. In Divisional Reserve was Brig.-Gen. Hughes, whose 
command included the 5th, 10th, 14th and 15th Battalions. The 
actual assault was to be delivered by three battalions, which, from 
right to left, were the 3rd, the 16th and the 13th. Roughly, these 
had as their respective objectives, Mount Sorrel, Hill 62, and the 
position to the north of Hill 62. Demonstrations and bombing 
attacks were to take place on the flanks of the main attack to 
deceive the enemy up to the last possible moment. In addition the 
attacking battalions were promised that on this occasion they would 
have no reason to complain that artillery support was inadequate. 
Guns of all calibres had been massed and were preparing to give 
the enemy some of his own obnoxious medicine. 

Such, in brief, was the general plan of the attack. Each bat 
talion elaborated on this scheme and worked out its tactics to con 
form with the general plan. In his operation order to the 13th, 
Lieut -Col. V. C. Buchanan, D.S.O., gave instructions as follows :- 

"On the night of June llth the 13th Canadian Battalion, the 

[100] 



THE JUNE SHOW, 1916 

Royal Highlanders of Canada, will relieve the 22nd Canadian Bat 
talion in the support position previously occupied by the 13th on the 
night of June 7th. On the night of June 12th the Battalion will move 
forward to the trenches south of Maple Copse, preparatory to an 
assault. Nos. 1 and 3 Companies, the former on the right, the 
Battalion Bombers and two Machine Gun crews will be in the 
front trenches. 

Nos. 2 and 4 Companies, the former on the right, the balance of 
Machine Gun Crews and all details will be in the support trenches. 

At the hour of the assault, the Battalion will move forward 
in four lines, each of two half-company frontage, at intervals of 
30 seconds. 

The Battalion Bombers and two Lewis Guns will follow the 
second line. The remaining machine guns will follow the 4th 
line, as will details and Battalion H.Q. 

Major K. M. Perry will be in charge of the first two lines. 

Major G. E. McCuaig will be in charge of the 3rd and 4th lines. 

Companies will be divided for supervision into parties of ap 
proximately ten men, under N.C.O s., and must keep in touch with 
the general line of the advance. Any men who become separated 
from their group will attach themselves to the nearest group. 

The attack is divided into four objectives: The first objective is 
the present enemy front line from Observatory Ridge to, and in 
cluding, Vigo Street. This objective will be known as Halifax. 
One platoon of No. 2 Coy. in the 4th line will remain behind to 
ensure that this trench is cleared. 

This platoon will rejoin their company as soon as relieved by 
the 4th Battalion. 

The second objective is our old reserve line, to be known as 
Montreal. The front line of the attack will remain in this trench 
to clear and consolidate it. The other lines will pass on through. 

The 3rd objective, which is our old support line, to be known 
as Winnipeg, will be our ultimate front line. This trench will 
be consolidated as soon as possible. 

The 4th objective, which is our old front line, is to be known as 
Vancouver. 

The Battalion Bombers are divided into eight squads of eight 
men each. Two of these squads will move up Observatory Ridge 
Road and two up Vigo Street, the latter under the Bombing Officer. 
The remaining four squads will, as soon as the 3rd objective has 

[101] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

been reached, move forward to the 4th objective, one squad to 
establish a block in the communication trench opposite St. Peter s 
St. Two squads will move up Crab Crawl and Torr Top and 
establish a block in the communication trench opposite the latter. 
Another squad will move up Pinch Cut and along the old front 
line to the left. They will be joined by the two squads who have 
come up Vigo Street and who will establish a block in the old 
support line on the left flank. Coloured flares will be carried and 
will be used to denote the progress of the attack as follows : 

On reaching the 1st objective White Flare. 

On reaching- the final objective Red Flare. 

Attack held up Green Flare. 

The S.O.S. will be as usual. 

In addition, messengers will be sent by Nos. 1 and 3 Companies 
to Battalion H.Q. asi soon as they have reached the final objective. 

Each man will carry 270 rounds of S.A.A., one day s rations, 
one iron ration, full water bottles, two grenades and five sand-bags. 
Every second man will carry a shovel." 

Instructions were also issued as to the hour at which the artillery 
barrage would lift and allow the troops to advance. 

On the afternoon of June llth Major-Gen. A. W. Currie, the 
Divisional Commander, inspected the 13th and afterwards addressed 
the officers on the coming operations. At night, in accordance with 
the order quoted above, the Battalion moved up and relieved the 
22nd Canadian Battalion in the position near Manor Farm, where 
the men remained all day on the 12th under fairly heavy shell fire 
and with no shelter from a drenching rain. 

At night the 13th moved up through Zillebeke, to the trenches 
from which the assault was to be launched. The road up was so 
packed with troops and the darkness! so intense that there was little 
time to spare when the four attacking waves were finally disposed 
along the muddy jumping-off trenches, between the forward edge 
of Maple Copse and the Observatory Ridge Road. These trenches 
were held by the 2nd Canadian Battalion and there was a good deal 
of congestion in them when the two battalions were packed to 
gether, but much good will was shown on both sides and by midnight 
the Royal Highlanders were lying low awaiting the hour to attack. 

At 12.45 a.m. on June 13th the blackness of the night was split 
by a great sheet of flame, which belched from the muzzles of hun 
dreds of guns. It was a marvelous sight and the deep-throated 

[102] 



THE JUNE SHOW, 1916 

roar that went with it was music to the ears of the waiting bat 
talions. Guns of all calibres, from 18-pounders to 12-inch, were 
employed and the German positions were torn and rent in a manner 
comparable to that in which the 3rd Division s front had been 
treated ten days earlier. As soon as this tornado was unloosed 
the German artillery, in response to S.O.S. signals from their in 
fantry, laid down a counter barrage on the Canadians front and 
communication trenches. Accurately placed, this counter barrage 
battered in some of the parapets and inflicted a number of casualties 
in the crowded jumping-off trenches. Accordingly the men were 
not sorry when the hour for the assault arrived and they were 
ordered forward into the open. 

Climbing over the top at the zero hour, 1.30 a.m., the four waves 
of the Royal Highlanders began their advance. The condition of 
the ground was very bad and, in the darkness, the men slipped and 
slithered into shell holes, often eight or ten feet deep. The weather, 
too, was most unfavourable and rain fell heavily at intervals, but the 
men pushed forward most determinedly and maintained their direc 
tion surprisingly well. One feature that helped matters was that 
the preliminary bombardment had effectively cut the enemy wire. 
Here and there uncut wire was encountered, but not in quantity 
sufficient seriously to impede the advance. 

Major K. M. Perry, commanding the first two waves, became a 
casualty just as he was leading the attack into the first line of 
German trenches. On learning of this Major G. E. McCuaig, in 
command of the third and fourth waves, handed these over and 
took Perry s place. 

After capturing the "Halifax" line, McCuaig led the attacking 
waves against "Montreal" and "Winnipeg." By this time the op 
position had stiffened appreciably and the Battalion was fighting 
hard to maintain the speed of its advance. On the left a strong 
machine gun post threatened at one time to hold up that flank 
altogether, but was silenced by a grenade party, who, creeping from 
shell hole to shell hole, outflanked it and bombed its stout hearted 
crew into submission. With this and some similar strong points 
disposed of, the attack swept forward. Bitter hand to hand fight 
ing occurred at many points in the maze of trenches, shell holes 
and muddy ditches through which the attackers bombed and bay- 
onetted their way. Pushing up a trench on one such occasion, 
Capt. F. S. Mathewson, commanding No. 2 Coy., rounded a traverse 

[ 103 ] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

suddenly and came face to face with a large Hun. Both were sur 
prised, but Mathewson, recovering his wits first, planted his fist 
with terrific force on the Hun s jaw. The latter went down without 
a word, but was not altogether the loser in the contest, as Mathew- 
son s fist was badly shattered. In spite of the pain of this injury, 
the latter continued to lead his Company during the remainder of 
the attack and rendered valuable service. 

Elsewhere Coy. Sergt.-Major Ableson, of No. 1 Coy., after hav 
ing been wounded, was attacked by an unwounded German, who 
attempted to seize his rifle. In the struggle that followed Ableson 
suffered over thirty knife wounds. When discovered by the second 
wave of the attack he was bleeding from his head, arms, body and 
legs, but in spite of these injuries the German had quite failed to 
wrest the rifle from his determined grasp. 

At another point Lieut. B. M. Giveen, the Battalion Bombing 
Officer, found that an enemy machine gun was holding up the ad 
vance. Realizing that this obstacle must be cleared away at all 
costs, Giveen led an attack against it. When most of the at 
tackers had become casualties, he persisted in the attack himself and 
eventually silenced the gun. It would be a great pleasure to record 
that this gallant officer survived to enjoy the honour that his daring 
piece of work would almost certainly have brought him. Unfor 
tunately he fell, riddled with bullets, in the very moment of his 
victory. 

Meanwhile, at different points, other officers and men were 
falling fast, as the advance pushed to its final objective. Lieut. J. 
D. Selbie was wounded in the arm, but carried on until he was 
killed; Lieut. J. G. Walker was killed while bravely advancing 
against a machine gun, as was Lieut. A. D. Prosser. Lieut. S. V. 
Brittan, who had received his commission as a reward for very fine 
work in 1915, was also killed, after rendering strikingly whole 
hearted service. 

Bit by bit, in spite of minor checks, the Battalion forced its 
way towards the "Winnipeg" line, where, except for bombing 
and blocking parties, the advance was to halt. In overcoming the 
last resistance, Lieut. W. G. Hamilton, the Battalion Machine Gun 
Officer, worked hard and assisted the attack materially. Later this 
officer took over the Bombers, whom Lieut. Giveen s death had 
left leaderless, and commanded them in the dangerous work of 
proceeding to the "Vancouver" objective and establishing blocks 

[104] 



THE JUNE SHOW, 1916 

in the communication trenches that led forward from the front, or 
"Winnipeg," line. In this work many of the Bombers became 
casualties and Hamilton himself was wounded. 

Almost on scheduled time the attack reached its objective and 
Major McCuaig, with no little pride in what the men had accom 
plished, touched off the red flare that carried the news of the Bat 
talion s success back to those who were so eagerly awaiting it. On 
the flanks the other battalions were equally successful. The whole 
Corps, therefore, rejoiced in the fact that what had threatened to 
be a German triumph had been turned by the counter attack into a 
Canadian victory. 

Victories, however, are not won without loss and in the 13th 
the losses were severe, though not out of proportion to the results 
achieved. In addition to the casualties already mentioned, Lieut. 
T. B. Saunders was killed while employed in the hazardous task of 
blocking the forward communication trenches, and at different 
points Lieuts. W. J. Anderson, A. G. C. Macdermot and H. H. Heal 
were wounded. Amongst the other ranks casualties amounted to 
approximately 300, of whom 67 were killed and 32 missing, pre 
sumed killed, the balance being listed as wounded. Enemy casual 
ties were, of course, unknown. Sixty prisoners, however, were 
taken by the 13th, while the number of German dead, strewn every 
where in the wake of the attack, bore silent witness to the fact that 
enemy losses far outnumbered the Canadian. 

As soon as the Battalion had fought its way into the Winnipeg" 
line, and while connection was being established with the victorious 
battalions on the flanks, Lieut.-Col. Buchanan, who had advanced 
his headquarters to keep in touch with the attack, ordered up the 
Engineer and Pioneer parties attached to the 13th to assist in the 
work of consolidation. These parties toiled unceasingly and dis 
played no little courage in accomplishing their difficult task. Their 
valuable assistance was recognized by Col. Buchanan, who expressed 
to their commander his appreciation of the services they rendered. 
Similarly, the stretcher bearer party, supplied to the 13th by the 
14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, was thanked by Col. 
Buchanan, who reported to 14th Headquarters that these bearers 
had acted in every way in a manner to reflect credit on their dis 
tinguished unit. The rain and terrible conditions underfoot made 
the work of the bearers particularly arduous, nevertheless they 
rapidly evacuated the wounded to Valley Cottages where Capt. 

[105] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Ramsay, the Battalion Medical Officer, worked untiringly to give 
the casualties first aid and make them as comfortable as possible 
for the long trip down the line. 

All the slightly wounded were jubilant and brought back glowing 
tales of the success and of their own personal adventures. In a 
great action each individual notices aspects and incidents totally 
overlooked by a comrade only a few feet away. Consequently, 
owing to the confusing and often directly contradictory information, 
it is difficult for a man in the rear to gather any clear impression of 
what has taken place. Often the experiences of some individual, all 
quite genuine, would seem to imply that he had been fighting for a 
week instead of for a few crowded hours. It is interesting, though, 
after looking at a; battle from the battalion point of view, to try and 
imagine how it appeared to some inconspicuous and unidentified 
member of the rank and file. Describing a conversation with a 
wounded private, who drifted back through his gun position soon 
after daybreak on the 13th, a Canadian Artillery officer writes as 
follows : 

"Well, you must first try and picture the chap who told me 
the story. We had given him a cup of tea, and he was very grate 
ful, and we asked him what he had seen of the show. He belongs 
to the 13th and stands about six feet high; his kilt is covered with 
a brown canvas apron, and he wears a steel helmet sideways on 
his head. Thin streaks of black hair come down over his eyes 
and his face is entirely covered with mud, except where the trickling 
sweat has made white channels down it. Besides his regulation kit, 
he has a German helmet strapped on his shoulder, three belts around 
his waist, and carries a German rifle as well as his own. How he 
manages it all is hard to see, for his left arm is bound up in a sling, 

but he is Blighty bound and nothing can spoil his fun I was 

in the line that was to do the once over, and he told us to be quiet 
until we got the word. Me and me pal we scraped a hole in the 
bottom of the trench, while you fellas (the artillery) gave em hell. 
I thought it ud never stop. I takes a peek over once and ducks me 
bean. It sure was some sight. Them hows, of ours looked like 
bleedin mines goin up. I says to me pal, "If those is us we re all 
right." Just then it began to slacken, I guess you fellas was 
shoven it farther back, and we gets the word. Mike was under 
neath me, for the hole wouldn t hold us both. I shouts to him, "Nip 
it, kid, we re off to Berlin." You shud a seen us hoof it over No 

[106] 



THE JUNE SHOW, 1916 

Man s Land. It was just a bunch of holes strung together with bits 
of weed. Mike fell into one up to his neck, but I didn t wait. You 
must have blowed up his line pretty well for there wasn t a machine 
gun firm at us. It only took a few minutes to get to their front 
line, but there was nothin in it. E told us to wait for the signal to 
go to our old front line, and we played about, bombin out a few 
buggers that was playin possum in the dug-outs as was left. You 
fellas lifted again, just like a wall of flame bein pushed back, and 
we beats it for our old front line. It wasn t as easy as the first, 
but when I gets to it, there didn t seem to be nothin doin , so I 
jumps in and out again on the other side, with Mike catchin up from 
behind. We runs slap up against a parapet, and Mike yells at me 
"Look out ! they re in there !" I ups on the parapet and, sure 
enough, there he was. Before I could dodge, he fires at me point 
blank. The bleedin bullet went between me legs. (At this stage 
souvenirs, kit and paraphernalia are dumped on the ground and he 
proudly shows us the hole through his kilt, front and back.) It 
never touched me. I had me mitts on for the wire, so I heaves a 
bomb, "Take that you b -d!" It hit his face, but didn t bust. 
He fired again and missed. "Take that you dirty dog !" I says, and 
let him have another. That got him, and he cuddled up in a cor 
ner. "I ll be back in a minit," I says, and goes down to where 
Mike was pastin them into a hole in the ground. Just as I got 
there a head shoves up and two arms, and yells "Kamerad." I 
chucks a Mills in the hole and they all starts hollerin . "All right, 
come out," yells Mike, and fifteen of them crawls out, and starts 
yellin . "Nix on the kamerad stuff," I says, " op it over there, and 
if one of youse downs a hand, I ll blow your bleedin heads off." 
Then we gets back, and e says, "Wot t ell d ye mean by goin over 
there," and I says, "Lorst me way in the dark, orficer, and brings 
back a lump of sausage." E says "Well done," and I was goin 
to peek once more, when one comes with Blighty written on one 
end of it and my name on the other. Well, I must be gettin 
along. Thanks, orficer, for the fags. I ll get the nurses to feed 
them to me. If I let go of this (he holds up the German helmet) 
some begger ll swipe it. Some war ! 



[107] 



CHAPTER IX 

Sanctuary Wood, Verbrandenmolen 

and Watten 

O guns, fall silent till the dead men hear 
Above their heads the legions pressing on ; 
(These fought their fight in time of bitter fear, 
And died not knowing how the day had gone.) 

Tell them, O guns, that we have heard their call, 
That we have sworn, and will not turn aside, 
That we will onward till we win or fall, 
That we will keep the faith for which they died. 

-JOHN McCRAE. 



FOLLOWING the successful counter-attack of June 13th and 
the strenuous day in the front line that followed, the Royal 
Highlanders were relieved at night by the 2nd Canadian Bat 
talion and, on the morning of June 14th, marched back to a point 
where busses were waiting to convey them to Patricia Lines. 

Here billets were shared with the 16th Battalion, Canadian Scot 
tish, who had taken part in the counter-attack, and with whom, in 
consequence, the 13th had a new bond in common. June 15th, the 
first full day in billets, was spent in resting and removing the mud 
and blood of the recent battle from uniforms and equipment. Mus 
ter parades were held to ascertain the Battalion s losses. On the 
following day a party of fifty men, under Lieut. D. S. Grieve, re 
turned to the scene of the counter-attack to search for and bury 
dead. The report of this party definitely shifted to the list of 
killed a large number of names that had, up to this time, appeared 
as "missing." 

At 2.30 p.m. the Battalion moved to "C" Camp, near Poper- 
inghe, and remained in this location for several clays. Muster 
parades were again held to check the casualty returns, rifles were 
carefully inspected and a new draft of men received to fill the 
depleted ranks. Accompanying this draft, or joining almost simul- 

[108] 



SANCTUARY WOOD AND WATTEN 

taneously, were Lieuts. A. H. Follett, and C. D. Llwyd, (No. 1 
Coy.), Lieuts. G. N. Sale and H. E. Piercy, (No. 2 Coy.), Lieuts. 
I. P. Falkner, H. T. Higinbotham, J. D. Cameron and J. L. Atkin 
son, (No. 3 Coy.), and Lieuts. V. G. Gwatkin and A. C. McAuley, 
(No. 4 Coy.). 

On June 20th Highland equipment was issued to the new draft 
and on the same date the Battalion moved from "C" Camp to 
Dominion Lines. The three days that followed were devoted for 
the most part to training the new draft, special attention being paid 
to gas helmet drill, bombing, machine gun work and the details of 
trench routine. Several officer promotions were announced at this 
time. Conspicuous amongst these were the following : To be Acting 
Major Capt. C. J. Smith: To be Acting Captains Lieuts. B. H. 
Rust and N. M. MacLean : To be Acting Adjutant Lieut. C. D. 
Craig (Paymaster) : To be Acting Transport Officer Lieut. F. 
du V. Elliot. 

From Dominion Lines the Battalion moved up on the night of 
June 24th and relieved the 7th Canadian Battalion in Trenches 53 to 
58 inclusive. These were in the Sanctuary Wood sector and still 
showed signs of the two battles which had swept over them earlier 
in the month. The communication trenches had not been rebuilt 
and the front line was approached overland. This was rendered pos 
sible by the fact that the ground sloped sharply to the rear, the 
rise obstructing the enemy s view. 

Sanctuary Wood was by this time a wood in name only. Such 
trees as stood were riven and leafless, while their fallen branches 
added to the maze of wire and trenches beneath. The air was 
heavy with a sickening odour of decay, so that the whole battered 
district, even by day, was a place of grisly horror and evil omen. 
At night weird shadows and strange sounds the hoot of an owl, 
or the cough of a hidden sentry intensified this aspect a hundred 
fold. War, however, is full of such fanciful things. Men who 
can face shell fire, gas and all the horrors of a modern engagement 
are supposedly immune from what the inexperienced term childish 
fears, yet more than one officer whose gallantry in action is un 
questioned has admitted that when alone at night in Sanctuary 
Wood his heart would beat uncomfortably fast and that human 
companionship was more than ordinarily welcome. 

The first two days of the Battalion s tour in this area were com 
paratively uneventful, but at 4 a.m. on June 27th the enemy loosed 

[109] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

one of those heavy and concentrated "shoots" for which this part 
of the line was famous. Guns of all calibres and heavy trench 
mortars were used and caused great damage to the Highlanders 
front line and support. In addition the enemy laid down a shrap 
nel barrage on all roads and paths by which reinforcements might 
reach the front line, paying special attention to the Observatory 
Ridge Road under which, in a support trench, Capt. F. P. Buchanan 
had his dugout. 

Capt. Buchanan, one of the original officers of the 13th, had 
remained in England in command of the Base Company when the 
Battalion proceeded to France. Later he rejoined the main section 
and served at the front during the latter part of 1915. Illness then 
compelled him to return to England, but, on recovering his health, 
he had come back to the Battalion once more and at the time of the 
bombardment now being described was serving as O.C. of No. 4 
Coy. 

Leaving his dugout to ascertain what effect the bombardment 
was having and whether, or not, the enemy was using it to screen 
an attack, Capt. Buchanan was struck on the head by a shrapnel 
shell and instantly killed. During that same hour Major C. J. 
Smith, another original officer, was killed when a heavy trench mor 
tar shell scored a direct hit on the steel-lined dugout in which he had 
established his Company Headquarters. Smith s death on this oc 
casion seemed a particularly hard stroke of fate, as he had just 
received his promotion and was serving for the first time as a Major. 
Originally with No. 3 Coy., then as Adjutant and finally as a com 
pany commander he had worked faithfully and given of his best 
in a manner that was an inspiration to all who came in contact with 
him. So passed from the Battalion roll two very gallant officers 
and gentlemen. 

Nor were these two alone in making the supreme sacrifice on 
that June day. Lieut. C. J. Roche was killed, as were some 26 of the 
rank and file. Other casualties included Capt. N. M. MacLean, 
Lieut. A. H. Follett, Lieut. W. S. Brown, Lieut. I. P. Falkner and 
46 other ranks wounded. One man was listed as "missing." 

After an hour and twenty minutes of intense bombardment the 
curtain of fire lifted and the enemy, employing a system similar to 
that which they had used at The Bluff in April, attempted to pene 
trate the Royal Highlanders front line. On the right flank a party 
of about twenty Germans advanced, but were driven off by rifle 

[110] 



SANCTUARY WOOD AND WATTEN 

and machine gun fire. Help in routing this party was given by a 
machine gun of the 14th Battalion firing from the right. Another 
party, slightly larger, pushed forward against the centre of the 
position and was similarly dispersed. On the left a third party, 
about fifteen in number, succeeded in getting close to a sap in which 
the Highlanders had established a forward post. Garrisoning this 
post at the time were Sergt. McLeod and one other man. This 
doughty pair, viewing with dislike the possibility of being surround 
ed and captured, organized a counter-attack of their own. With 
McLeod acting as the first "wave" and his companion as the 
second, the counter-attack, which was principally a bombing affair, 
fell upon the astonished Germans and drove them in confusion back 
to their own wire. The counter-attack then re-formed and returned 
in safety. 

The check suffered by these three advance parties apparently 
discouraged the enemy and prevented his sending forward the main 
assault body, which was concealed in front of his line. The Cana 
dians suspected the existence of such a body and confirmation was 
obtained from a wounded prisoner, one of a pair captured on the 
right flank. 

During the remainder of the tour in Sanctuary Wood the Royal 
Highlanders were forced to work exceedingly hard to repair their 
damaged trenches. Several sharp bombardments on the 28th 
destroyed some of the repairs and inflicted further casualties, but 
none of these approached in severity the eighty minute shelling of 
the day before. To make sure that no mischief was being planned, 
however, Lieut. G. L. Earle, Lieut. J. D. Cameron and an N.C.O. 
patrolled between the lines at night, paying particular attention to 
the blocked communication trench which ran into the enemy lines. 
No unusual features were discovered. 

Late on the night of June 29th the 10th Canadian Battalion took 
over the Sanctuary Wood front and the 13th withdrew to huts near 
Busseboom. Here new drafts were received and five days spent 
in the usual routine of a regiment ini billets. During this time the 
new men were medically inspected and carefully trained in gas hel 
met drill, company drill, squad drill and trench routine. Recreation 
was afforded to as many men as possible by passes to Poperinghe, 
these being particularly welcome after July 3rd, when the Battalion 
was paid by Lieut. R. E. Heaslip, the newly appointed Paymaster. 

At 7.30 p.m. on July 5th, the Battalion moved to Kenora Lines, 

[111] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

where for three days the work of training was continued. Gas helmet 
and squad drills were again a feature, but variety was provided by 
musketry instruction, route marching and a series of demonstrations 
in cutting wire. Attention of all ranks was called to the standing 
order that cameras were strictly forbidden and that no explanation 
would save the owner o>f one from summary court martial. At 
the same time a new order forbade the men to drink promiscuously 
from the old pumps and streams in which the district abounded. 
Much sickness had resulted from carelessness in this respect and 
the men were warned that they must use the regimental water carts 
or other authorized sources of supply. 

II 

Leaving Kenora Lines on the evening of July 9th, the Battalion 
moved forward to relieve the 2nd Canadian Battalion in reserve 
billets in the forward area. This relief was not entirely uneventful, 
as during the march up a heavy bombardment was heard on the 
front, while all around the Canadian guns were giving reply. Not 
knowing exactly what the bombardment indicated, a staff officer met 
Lieut. -Col, Buchanan near Swan Chateau and ordered all the com 
panies to halt pending further instructions. Eventually the enemy 
raided the 4th Battalion front on Hill 60, apparently with the idea 
of trying out the strength of the defence at that point. Once it 
became clear that no further action was imminent, the Highlanders 
were ordered forward to complete the delayed relief. 

On taking over from the 2nd Battalion, the 13th Headquarters 
occupied Railway Dugouts; Nos. 1 and 3 Companies occupied 
Woodcote House, No. 2 took over Battersea Farm, while No. 4 
moved into Sunken Road. All details were in Railway Dugouts. 
Four days were spent in these locations, where, owing to enemy 
observation, it was necessary for the men to move in daylight with 
considerable caution. Intermittent shelling caused a few casual 
ties and Lieut. G. V. Gwatkin suffered the loss of two fingers from 
the accidental explosion of a grenade. Large working parties were 
the chief feature of the tour. One such was employed on the 
Railway Tunnel under Hill 60, while nightly parties of as many as 
500 officers and men worked in consolidating the front line, clean 
ing communication trenches and establishing dumps of materials. 

At night on July 14th the Battalion moved forward to relieve 
the Royal Montreal Regiment in the Verbrandenmolen Sector of 

[112] 




MAPLE COPSE, VPRES SALIENT, JUNE, 1916. 

Canadian Official, Copyright. 




A TKKXCH SCENE. VPRES SALIENT, JUNE, 19U. . 

Canadian Official, Copyright. 



SANCTUARY WOOD AND WATTEN 

the front line. This position was on the right of the Railway Cut 
ting by Hill 60 and the trenches were in very fair condition. Back 
of the front line it was possible to move about in the. open, owing 
to the protection afforded by abundant foliage. 

On moving into the line No. 3 Coy., under Capt. B. H. Rust, 
took over the right front, No. 2 Coy., under Capt. J. D, Macpherson, 
the centre and No. 1 Coy., under Capt. J. H. Lovett, the left. No. 
4 Coy. was in reserve. No. 1 Coy s, left rested on the Railway Cut 
ting, on the other side of which was the 16th Battalion, Canadian 
Scottish. This cutting, over which an old bridge still remained, 
ran from the Canadian into the German lines. At night, therefore, 
the 13th and 16th co-operated in providing a stationary patrol to 
stop the enemy should he attempt to advance down the cutting and 
debouch from under the bridge. 

During the first few days in this section of the line the 13th 
indulged in a spirited rifle grenade duel with the opposing forces. 
Using the high ground of Verbrandenmolen, the Highlanders 
"straffed" the enemy trenches in an effort to comply with orders that 
every German grenade was to be returned in the ratio of six for 
one. In the duel the 13th freely admit that the Hun carried off 
the honours. In some way he marked down most of the emplace 
ments from which grenades could be fired and it was in consequence 
so difficult to use these that the six to one ratio was pretty well in 
his favour. Refusing to accept the Hun superiority in rifle grenades 
as in any way indicative of the general situation, the Canadians 
shifted their tactics and brought into play a number of Trench 
Mortars and Stokes guns, which broke down the enemy trenches 
in several places and tore large gaps in his wire. To this move the 
enemy replied in kind with a certain degree of success. 

At 8 o clock on the night of July 18th the enemy opened a severe 
Trench Mortar bombardment on the Hill 60 Sector across the 
Railway Cutting and on the front line of the 13th. About 8.45 
p.m. rifle grenades were added to the bombardment and the enemy 
artillery also joined in. Retaliation started at once, but the ad 
vantage was all with the Germans. The Stokes gun crews worked 
courageously, but were literally snowed under. Unfortunately, too, 
one of the supporting 60-pounder Trench Mortar batteries went 
wrong at this time and crashed a series of bombs into the High 
landers trenches. 

On the right of the line Capt. B. H. Rust, commanding No. 3 

[113] 

8 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Coy., an officer whose career had been a distinguished one, received 
a terrible wound in the thigh, from which he died in the Dressing 
Station soon afterwards. In the centre the shelling was heavy, 
but not so severe as on the left, where Capt. J. H. Lovett had with 
drawn the majority of his men from the front line, according to 
previous arrangement, leaving only a bombing squad to block the 
Railway Cutting", and machine gunners and sentries at their regular 
posts. 

The trenches on this front were terribly broken up and Company 
Headquarters completely destroyed by a heavy trench mortar shell, 
which scored a direct hit. The lives of Capt. Lovett and a signaller 
were saved by the vigilance of a runner, Private Dunn, who saw 
the torpedo coming and gave a warning which enabled the pair to 
escape. Eventually the German fire lifted and the enemy, using 
tactics that were familiar to the 13th from previous experience, 
pushed forward several attacks. Of these the main one was directed 
against the point where the right of the 16th and the left of the 13th 
rested on the Railway Cutting. One small party entered a trench 
from which the 16th had been withdrawn and started to cross the 
stone arch over the Cutting. The members of this party were re 
vealed by the light of a flare and were seen to be wearing flat caps 
with Red Cross brassards. Challenged by Lance-Corp. Johnson, a 
Russian in the 13th ranks, they made some guttural answer to which 
Johnson, suspecting a trick, replied with a bomb. The Germans 
promptly returned the compliment, whereupon the Lance-Corporal 
and his party drove them back across the bridge, their retreat being 
hastened by a machine gun which opened on them from a distance. 
Meanwhile, Capt. Lovett, though nearly blind and deaf from the 
explosion which so nearly cost him his life, continued to direct his 
company with no little skill. As soon as the bombardment lifted 
he ordered the men who had been withdrawn from the front line 
forward once more and this move was speedily carried out, largely 
owing to the good work of Coy. Sergt.-Major Bullock, who led the 
men overland through the wire entanglements protecting the second 
line. Lieuts. C. D. Llwyd and P. E. Corbett, new officers, also 
showed coolness and resource in directing their men. 

The speed with which the front line was manned at this point 
contributed materially to the sharp repulse administered to a Ger 
man party who advanced against Trench 37 S. immediately adjoin 
ing the Cutting. The men of the new draft behaved well in this 

[1141 



SANCTUARY WOOD AND WATTEN 

engagement and one of them, unable to restrain his delight at the 
way in which the German attack had been beaten off, leaped onto 
the parapet with a shout of "Try again, Fritz, there s Welcome 
on the door mat." 

While the check administered to the Hun attacks was in every 
way satisfactory, some uneasiness was felt owing to the fact that 
the party driven back across the stone bridge by Lance-Corp. 
Johnson s bombers, had apparently come from a section of the 16th 
Battalion s trenches. Fearing that the enemy might have occupied 
these in strength, Lovett sent over a patrol to ascertain how the 
situation lay. This patrol reported that the 16th still held the trench 
in question and had merely withdrawn the garrison during the 
heaviest part of the bombardment. 

With this point satisfactorily settled, the attention of the Battalion 
was at once turned to the work of evacuating the wounded and re 
pairing the trenches. Casualties, considering the intensity of the 
bombardment, were not abnormal, nevertheless, far away in Canada, 
fifteen homes would receive the Government telegram telling of the 
death of a Highlander in action, while to thirty-eight others would 
be sent the less dreaded notice of wounds received. 

Following this engagement the 13th remained in the line for 
some 24 hours, at the end of which the 8th Canadian Battalion 
relieved, the 13th reaching billets at Devonshire Lines at 4 a.m. 
on the 20th. Later on this date the officers attended the funeral of 
Capt. B. H. Rust, who was buried in the cemetery at Poperinghe. 
Deep regret was felt by all ranks at the loss of this brave officer, and 
the service, conducted by Canon Scott, was a touching one. 
Afterwards Lieut.-Col. Buchanan and other officers walked around 
the cemetery where scores of 13th Battalion graves gave striking 
proof of the sacrifices the Regiment had made in helping to hold 
the famous Salient. 

On returning to billets Capt. J. H. Lovett was forced to admit 
that he was feeling the effects of wounds received on the night of 
the 18th. His hearing had almost gone and he suffered from other 
painful injuries. Accordingly he was evacuated and spent the 
following three weeks at No. 17 Stationary Hospital in Boulogne, 
rejoining the Battalion as soon as his recovery was well advanced. 

For the next ten days the Battalion remained at Devonshire 
Lines. No parades of any kind were held on the 20th, but on the 
21st the Battalion had the use of the 2nd Divisional Baths at 

[115] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Reninghelst and pay parades were also held. On the following 
day the companies proceeded to a point where inspection of gas 
helmets was made by the Divisional Gas Officer. After the in 
spection a demonstration in the use of gas helmets was given. 
In the afternoon two officers and fifty other ranks from each of 
the companies, with parties from the Machine Gun, Grenade and 
Intelligence Sections, attended a lecture at Connaught Lines on the 
subject of "Observation from Air Craft." 

On July 23rd a Protestant service was held on the Battalion 
Parade Ground, Major Creegan officiating, while the Roman Cath 
olic party, under Lieut. J. D. Gunn, proceeded to the Y.M.C.A. hut 
in Scottish Lines, where Major O Gorman celebrated Mass. Later 
on the same day it was announced that decorations had been 
awarded as follows : The Distinguished Conduct Medal to Sergt. 
A. McLeod and the Military Medal to Sergt. A. Petrie, Corp. F. J. 
Walker, Lance-Corp. J. E. Westerman, Private G. Gill, Private P. 
Costello, Private W. Somerville and Private D. Woods. All these 
had distinguished themselves during the operations in the Salient. 

On the 24th company training, route marches, bayonet and gas 
helmet drills filled in the time for the men, while all available officers 
attended lectures by Lieut.-Col. R. H. Kearsley, D.S.O. and Major 
Bertram, the former speaking on "Responsibilities and Duties of 
Officers" and the latter on "Intelligence Concerning the Area We 
Occupy." Two days later Lieut.-Col. Buchanan gave the Battalion 
a thorough inspection, while on the same date it was announced 
that, "The General Officer Commanding in Chief, under the 
authority granted by His Majesty The King, has awarded the 
following decorations : 

The Distinguished Service Order . . Major K. M. Perry 

The Military Cross Lieut. W. G. Hamilton 

The Military Medal . ... Corp. G. T. Cowan 

Private R. Young. 

Six more days completed the stay at Devonshire Lines, all of 
these, except July 28th, being devoted to the customary drilling and 
training so frequently referred to. On the 28th all parades were 
called off and a sports day organized. The programme on this oc 
casion differed in no essential from that of previous sports days, 
but provided none the less a real break in the routine of training and 
was much enjoyed by officers and men in consequence. 

[116] 



SANCTUARY WOOD AND WATTEN 

With the arrival of August, Lieut. C. D. Craig, who had been 
Acting Adjutant of the Battalion, was confirmed as Adjutant and 
simultaneously it was announced that Capt. C. N. McCuaig had been 
appointed Orderly Officer of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade. 
Capt. McCuaig was the youngest of three brothers, all original of 
ficers of the 13th. He had served as a subaltern with No. 3 Coy. at 
the Second Battle of Ypres, where Major D. R. McCuaig was 
wounded and made prisoner and where his other brother, then 
Captain, now Major, G. E. McCuaig, had been wounded. From 
tlilat time he had remained with the Royal Highlanders until 
the autumn of 1915, when illness had compelled his return to 
England. Now he was returning to France to serve under his 
old chief, Brig.-Gen. F. O. W. Loomis, who picked him for his 
work while with the Battalion. 

On the night of August 1st the 13th moved up and relieved the 
1st Canadian Battalion in Brigade Support. Headquarters was es 
tablished in Railway Dugouts and the companies occupied equally 
familiar locations in Sunken Road, Woodcote House, Battersea 
Farm and so on. During the stay in these positions, movement 
during the day was necessarily restricted, but at night the whole 
area came to life and large working parties toiled unceasingly in 
repairing the front line, building Stokes gun emplacements and 
carrying material. While for the most part this work was unevent 
ful, one party ran into bad luck and suffered several casualties. 
During the whole of the six day tour one man was killed and thir 
teen more or less seriously wounded. 

On the night of the 7th the Highlanders shifted to the right 
to support the 2nd Brigade. On this occasion two companies were 
located under the Bluff, in a large tunnel system which during the 
summer had been constructed with the emergency tunnel, which the 
veterans of the April show remembered so well, as a nucleus. The 
other companies were situated respectively in barns to the rear and 
at Bedford House. 

Great interest was taken by the April veterans in an enormous 
crater, which had replaced the smaller one at the end of the Bluff 
where a small post of 13th bombers had so distinguished themselves. 
A party of officers visited this new crater and were amused to find 
a movie drama being enacted in its cavernous depths. Invited to 
take part in the scene, the officers accepted with glee and died heroic 
deaths, or sprang to life and performed prodigies of valour, as the 

[117] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

progress of the picture seemed to demand. "They died with a 
smile on their lips," is a description which in this instance was 
literally true. 

Two comparatively uneventful days were spent in this location, 
though at night the usual working parties toiled and sweated at 
their heavy tasks. Four casualties were added to the ever growing 
list, two men being killed and two wounded. This, although no one 
knew it at the time, marked the last of the Battalion s 1916 tours 
in the Ypres Salient. Great events were taking place elsewhere on 
the British front in which it was now planned that the Canadian 
Corps should participate. The Royal Highlanders, however, were 
quite unaware of these plans when, on the night of August 9th, 
they were relieved by the 4th C.M.R. and moved back to billets 
at Devonshire Lines. 

Ill 

After a brief stay at Devonshire Lines the 13th Battalion joined 
the other units of the 3rd Brigade in a march to a special training 
area near Watten. This move was made in three stages. On the 
llth reveille was sounded at 3 a.m. and the Battalion moved off 
some hours later. Every man carried his full kit, including pack, 
steel helmet, 240 rounds of small arm ammunition and full water 
bottle. At 10 a.m. the Battalion reached Abeele on the border be 
tween Belgium and France, a town which the Highlanders had 
previously visited when moving up to Ypres in the spring of 1915. 

Reveille was sounded again that same night at 11.30 p.m., break 
fast was at midnight and at 2.15 a.m. the march was resumed, the 
early start being made to escape enemy observation and to avoid 
marching in the heat of the day. On! this occasion the men s equip 
ment was as on the previous day. Cook kitchens and water carts 
followed in the rear of the Battalion, but all other transport was 
brigaded and followed in the rear of the Brigade Column, under 
the command of an officer of the 15th Battalion. The march on 
this date was long and the last two hours of it trying, owing to the 
dust and intense heat. Billets, however, were reached and occupied 
about 9.30 a.m. Continuing the march at 4 a.m. on August 13th, 
the Battalion proceeded to its final destination, a series of hamlets 
near Watten. Battalion Headquarters billeted with the Comte 
d Hespel in the Chateau d Eperlecques and the companies were also 
adequately, if less sumptuously, housed. 

[118] 



SANCTUARY WOOD AND WATTEN 

On settling down in Watten the Battalion began a two weeks 
course of special training-. On the 14th routine drills were held and 
a thorough inspection made of kits and equipment, special attention 
being paid to steel helmets and rifle covers. On the next day rifle 
inspection was held by the Armourer Sergeant and the following 
appointments were announced: To be Assistant-AdjutantLieut. 
G. W. Brown: to be Assistant Intelligence Officer Lieut. E. McN. 
Grant : to be Assistant Machine Gun Officer Lieut. H. H. Chanter 
and to be Assistant Bombing Officer Capt. C. R. Chisholm. 

The Battalion assembled at 8.15 a.m. on the 16th and proceeded 
some miles to the Second Army Training Area, N.W. of St. Omer, 
which had been allotted to the 3rd Brigade for special training. 
Here the 13th carried out an all day practice in the assault, coming 
in contact for the first time with Australian troops, who were train 
ing in an adjacent area. On the same date an order that all officers 
kits must be reduced to 35 Ibs. gave strength to a rumour, already 
whispered, that the Canadians were to take part in the great allied 
offensive on the Somme. 

On August 18th the Royal Highlanders took part with the other 
units of the 3rd Canadian Brigade in a large scale practice in at 
tack. The objective on this occasion was the high ground between 
Barlinghem and Moringhem, with a windmill as a prominent and 
guiding feature. The attack was carried out in waves, with all 
the accepted flanking precautions and with bombing squads, machine 
gun teams, stretcher bearers and Intelligence sections filling, so far 
as possible, their battle roles. During this operation the Battalion, 
for the first time, practised liaison with the Royal Flying Corps, the 
forward waves of the attack being supplied with white ground 
flares to outline their position when this information was called 
for by the Klaxon horn of a low flying plane, identifiable by a 
couple of long black streamers. These white flares were lit only 
when objectives had been reached, or when troops were presumed 
to have encountered an obstacle w 7 hich prevented further advance. 
Ground sheets were used to signal all other information. 

An interested spectator of these operations was General Sir Sam 
Hughes, who took the opportunity to watch the Brigade at work. 
On the following day the Battalion practised independently, advance 
guards and flank guards in the morning, occupation of position in 
the afternoon. Divine Services were held on the 20th, and on the 
21st musketry, platoon drill and practice of companies in attack 

[119] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

filled in the time. Care was taken at these manoeuvres to see that 
each platoon practised each phase of the attack. August 22nd was 
again devoted to special training. In the morning the attack was 
practised and the "captured" trenches consolidated. Later in the 
day the Battalion was put through the moves following a supposed 
enemy gas attack. Bayonet fighting, rifle sighting and demonstra 
tions in blocking communication trenches occupied the time on the 
23rd, and the three days that followed were devoted to special 
training along the lines described already. 

An amazing feature of all these manoeuvres was the frequency 
with which, after a successful attack, the fleeing enemy retired in 
the exact direction of one of the little estaminets with which the 
country was so liberally provided. Time and again defending 
troops, utterly unaware of the direction in which they were retreat 
ing, would find themselves pushed by a vigorous attack, not only 
into the outskirts of one of these establishments, but right through 
the doorway into the taproom itself. Here the poor bewildered 
soldiers felt compelled to buy drinks to justify the rudeness of their 
intrusion. Officers too, doubtless for lack of more arid spots, were 
frequently forced to use these hospitable houses as unit headquarters. 

On Sunday, August 27th, Church Parade was held on the Bat 
talion Parade ground at 10 a.m. Earlier in the morning the Roman 
Catholic party proceeded to church at Genspeete. Company com 
manders were ordered to see that all Roman Catholics were present 
at this parade, which led the old timers to prophesy that strenuous 
times lay not far ahead. Late that same night the Transport and 
No. 1 Coy. paraded and marched to the station at St. Omer, followed 
by the remainder of the Battalion three quarters of an hour later. 
At 7 o clock on the morning of the 28th the Battalion entrained, and, 
after a tiresome journey, reached Conteville Station at 4 o clock 
in the afternoon. From this point the 13th marched some four or 
five miles to the village of the same name. 

All the men had benefited physically from the fortnight of 
strenuous training at Watten, which was a help, as the Battalion 
now marched daily towards the Somme. Halloy Pernois was the 
destination on the 29th and La Vicogne on the 30th. Rain fell 
heavily during the. latter move and the men reached billets soaked 
through and rather tired. At La Vicogne, a huge farm, the whole 
Battalion shook down in great piles of hay and straw, dislodging 
many indignant fowls and retrieving a number of eggs. 

[120] 



SANCTUARY WOOD AND WATTEN 

Harponville was the Battalion s objective on August 31st and 
here the men realized that they were approaching the scene of the 
new battle, as the rumble of the distant guns was clearly heard, 
while on the horizon could be seen the line of observation balloons 
that marked the circumference of the huge Somme salient. 



[ 121 ] 



CHAPTER X 

The Somme 

Burned from the ore s rejected dross, 

The iron whitens in the heat. 

With plangent strokes of pain and loss 

The hammers on the iron beat. 

Searched by the fire, through death and dole 

We feel the iron in our soul. 

LAURENCE BINYON. 



THE great engagement of the British and French Armies, 
spoken of as "The Battles of the Somme, 1916," was a con 
flict unprecedented in history. Vast armies took part in it 
and swayed backwards and forwards for months, locked tight in a 
veritable death struggle. Trenches were captured, recaptured and 
captured again, while the whole face of the earth for miles was so 
torn by concentrated artillery fire as to render familiar scenes ut 
terly unrecognizable. Thriving and solidly built little villages melted 
under the storms of high* explosive like butter in a hot sun, till 
their very site was often a matter of dispute, to be settled, perhaps, 
by the discovery in the churned up soil of a few loose bricks or the 
merest remnant of an old stone wall. 

Men died in this bitter fighting by tens of thousands, but others 
were found to take their places and the great struggle went relent 
lessly on. The Germans christened the battle "The Blood Bath of 
the Somme" and this phrase, ugly and horrible though it be, conveys 
more vividly than any other a true impression of the titanic strug 
gle. No unit came out of the Somme unscathed; few came out 
unshattered. 

With reference to such a battle it is difficult to speak of victory 
and defeat ; impossible to do so in a work of this kind, which deals 
with the actions of a single battalion. Battalions at the Somme 
were as platoons in an ordinary battle. Brigades and divisions were 
used up in the struggle for a single trench, or farm. 

[122] 



THE SOMME 

Launched on July 1st, 1916, the British and French attack swept 
forward for a time and then encountered a dogged and determined 
resistance. Pushed with amazing courage and self sacrifice, how 
ever, the attack continued to progress and, in spite of tremendous 
losses, bit its way deep into the German lines, capturing thousands 
of prisoners and inflicting losses on the enemy which he could not 
but regard as extremely serious. 

Such, then, in its scantiest outline, was the situation in which 
the Canadian Corps was now called upon to take part. Division 
by division the Corps came into action and fought as the Corps 
always fought, the 4th Canadian Division winning its spurs and 
proving itself in every way worthy to take its place with the veterans 
of Ypres, St. Eloi and Sanctuary Wood. 

Arriving at the Somrne, the 1st Canadian Division was soon in 
action, relieving the 4th Australian Division at Tara Hill on Sep 
tember 4th. Previous to the actual exchange of divisional com 
mand, however, units of the 1st Canadian Division were thrown 
into the battle under Australian direction, amongst these being the 
13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders. 

Leaving Harponville, the 13th proceeded on the morning of 
September 1st and, marching via Warloy, reached an area, known 
as "The Brickfields," near Albert, where the Battalion was to pass 
the night. Some time later transport wagons arrived with canvas 
covers which the men converted into bivouacs, and in which, after 
a hot meal and an issue of rum, they settled down for a welcome 
night s rest. In the morning the bivouacs were taken down, the 
area thoroughly cleaned up and equipment prepared for a tour in 
the trenches. At 2 p.m. the company commanders received orders 
from Lieut. -Col. Buchanan to reconnoitre the area around la Bois- 
selle, paying particular attention to the Chalk Pits and to the roads 
and means of communication between la Boisselle and Pozieres. 

When this party returned to camp orders for the Battalion to 
move up to the Chalk Pits and occupy the old German front line 
had already been received. At night, therefore, the companies 
moved off, No. 1 under command of Major J. H. Lovett, who had 
again recovered from his wounds, No. 2 under Major J. D. Mac- 
pherson, No. 3 under Major W. F. Peterman, who had just re 
covered from his most recent wounds, and No. 4 under Major F. 
J. Rowan, who had recovered from wounds received in the previous 
April. 

[123] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Passing through Albert, where the leaning statue of the Virgin 
stood out as a blacker shadow in the blackness of the sky, the Bat 
talion proceeded to la Boisselle, as support to the 4th Australian 
Division. In spite of the fact that the area had previously been 
reconnoitred, darkness and the absence of all landmarks made the 
task of finding the proper trenches unusually difficult and the move 
was not completed till about 1 a.m. 

In the morning-, at about 5 o clock, all the artillery in the area 
opened up in support of an Australian attack on a locality known as 
Mouquet Farm. Immediately behind the 13th, as if to lend an 
Imperial aspect to the affair, were some South African heavy bat 
teries, whose guns roared with right good will. Thus the 
Australians attacked with British troops not far away on their flank, 
with Canadians in support and with South Africans helping to lay 
down the barrage. 

In spite of this array, the attack was not a success, though at 
first it appeared to be. Much later, when Mouquet Farm was finally 
captured, an explanation of the disaster that overtook the attackers 
on this and other occasions was forthcoming. It appeared that the 
Germans had a large tunnel leading into the farm from a point well 
to the rear. When an attack captured and swept past the farm, the 
enemy, making use of this inconspicuous tunnel, would pour out 
and with bombs, rifles and machine guns take the attackers in rear. 
So successful was this strategy that on several occasions no authentic 
report was ever received of what had happened to troops who 
presumably had captured the farm. They simply vanished and, 
when an effort was made to get in touch with them, the enemy was 
found to be in possession. It was not until the night of September 
16th, when the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles definitely took 
Mouquet Farm, that this secret was disclosed. 

Early in the morning when the 13th was occupying the position 
at la Boisselle, as previously described, Lieut-Col. Buchanan re 
ceived orders from General Glasstorch, of the 13th Australian 
Brigade, to hold two companies in readiness for an immediate move. 
This order was a surprise, as the 13th had previously been informed 
that the Australians would not require assistance, but it was prompt 
ly obeyed and Nos. 1 and 2 Companies selected. Knowing the 
heavy casualties to be expected in this area, Lieut.-Col. Buchanan 
ordered the second-in-command of each company and 20% of the 

specialists into reserve. 

[124] 



THE SOMME 

Some fifteen minutes after the "stand to" order arrived and 
before the men had been able to breakfast, No. 1 Coy., under Major 
Lovett, was ordered forward. Lieut.-Col. Buchanan was averse to 
seeing his companies serve under a command other than his own, 
but there was no help for it and he took up a post at the la Boisselle 
cross roads to shout a word of good wishes. The Company, as it 
responded to the Colonel s greeting, numbered 143 all ranks. When 
next it passed in front of him, it totalled 1 officer and 23 men. 

Owing to the fact that the companies of the 13th acted during 
the ensuing engagement almost as independent units, it is necessary 
at this point to leave the Battalion for a time and to follow the 
career, first of No. 1 Coy. and then of No. 2. 

After the farewell to Col. Buchanan at the crossroads, Major 
Lovett led No. 1 forward and heard from Gen. Glasstorch that the 
enemy, having cut off and practically annihilated the first waves of 
the Australian attack, had counter-attacked and made a considerable 
breach in the front line. This gap Lovett was ordered to cover 
and guides were furnished to lead him to its neighbourhood. 

Each man of No. 1 Coy. was supplied with two bombs at a dump 
and entry was made into the trenches to the left of the Australian 
headquarters, overlooking Pozieres. Capt. Maxwell of the 
Australians and the guides under his command rendered Major 
Lovett every possible assistance in the advance that followed, but 
at last they declared that, owing to the obliteration of so many 
trenches in the morning s bombardment, they were by no means 
sure of their exact position. The general direction of their objec 
tive was known, however, and Lovett decided to advance overland, 
rushing small parties from shell hole to shell hole and leaving a 
guide at intervals to direct those still to follow. 

Considerable progress was made in this manner until a stream 
of machine gun bullets from the rear gave warning that the advance 
had progressed beyond a point where an enemy post had been 
established. After a great deal of difficulty this gun was put out 
of action and the Company, continuing its advance, reached the 
Australian front line trench. The left of this trench was occupied 
by the enemy, but the right flank was connected up with another 
Australian unit. The work that faced the combined Canadians 
and Australians, therefore, was to drive the Germans out of the 
left section of the trench and to link up with other Australian 
units, presumed to be somewhere beyond. 

[125] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

In the meantime No. 2 Coy. of the 13th, under Major J. D. 
Macpherson, had also been ordered forward. Advancing some 
time after Lovett, Macpherson led his men in artillery formation up 
to Pozieres. Leaving the men to draw bombs from the dump, he 
reported to the Australian O.C. and was ordered by the latter to take 
his men into neighbouring trenches and "stand by." Heavy shelling 
could be heard forward at this time, but not many shells struck 
nearby. Macpherson was informed that No. 1 Coy. had been in 
Pozieres and had been sent forward. 

About 10 a.m. an orderly summoned Macpherson to Brigade 
Headquarters, where he was told that Mouquet Farm had just been 
captured. Map locations were given to him and he was ordered 
to take his company forward and occupy a position near the Farm. 
Being unfamiliar with the area, Macpherson asked for a guide, but 
this assistance, owing to shortage of men, the Australian General 
was unable to provide. 

On leaving the H.Q., Macpherson encountered the Brigade In- 
telligence Officer, who offered to help get the Company into position. 
Accordingly a start was made, the men in single file and in fairly 
close touch, this formation being advisable to avoid the possibility 
of platoons getting separated and lost in the maze of shell holes 
and ruined trenches. 

After advancing for about a mile, the Australian Intelligence 
Officer said that the front line must be near at hand and that, while 
the Highlanders rested, he would go forward and reconnoitre. 
When a long time elapsed and he did not return, Macpherson be 
came uneasy and decided to reconnoitre for himself. He according 
ly started forward and soon came across some wounded Australians 
in a shell hole. These could tell him little of his position, or of the 
state of affairs in general, but from them he learned that some 
Highlanders had already passed that way and concluded that the 
Highlanders in question must have been Major Lovett and No. 1 
Coy. Proceeding a little further, Macpherson found another shell 
hole occupied by Australians, this time unwounded, and from these 
he learned for the first time that, instead of Mouquet Farm having 
been captured, the troops who had attacked it had been completely 
wiped out. Once again, however, he picked up the trail of No. 1 
Coy., which had recently passed by and occupied a trench not far 
ahead. 

Proceeding forward again, Macpherson soon found No. 1 Coy. 

[126] 



THE SOMME 

in the Australian front line trench, and, after a consultation with 
Lovett, it was decided that Macpherson should bring up No. 2 Coy. 
and establish a line on Lovett s left, endeavouring- at the same time 
to discover which of the very contradictory reports regarding- the 
ownership of Mouquet Farm was correct. 

Returning to his company in accordance with these arrange 
ments, Macpherson met the Australian Intelligence Officer, who said 
that he had discovered a vacant trench over to the left. As this 
was approximately the position that Macpherson had told Lovett he 
would occupy, he instructed the Australian to lead on, taking the 
precaution, however, of holding back the main body of the Com 
pany, until a small party, under Lieut. M. A. Jaques, could explore 
the trench and find out where it led. 

Shortly after this party had left on its reconnoitring mission, the 
main body heard a crash of rifle fire and the explosion of several 
bombs, and a moment later a man came running back to report that 
the advance party had rim into opposition. On receipt of this 
news, Macpherson took a platoon and hurried along the trench to 
find that Lieut. Jaques, having driven the enemy before him, was 
establishing a block in the trench to keep them from returning. 
Lifting himself up on the parapet to obtain a better idea of where 
the trench led, Jaques discovered that Mouquet Farm was only a 
short distance further on. He had just reported this important item 
and was taking a further look around when a sniper killed him with 
a bullet through the head. His work all through this trying- day 
had been of a courageous and helpful nature and his loss at this time 
was one the Company could ill afford. 

With his position established as the result of Lieut. Jaques ob 
servations, Macpherson wrote a detailed report to Headquarters and 
asked particularly that Lewis guns be sent up, so that he could 
protect his flank and drive off any serious attack from Mouquet 
Farm. Meanwhile, by occupying the trench, which was in echelon 
to Lovett s position, Macpherson considerably assisted the latter, 
who had been harassed by enfilade fire from the party of Huns 
driven out by Lieut. Jaques bombers. Contact between the two 
trenches, once established, was skilfully maintained by a series of 
patrol posts under the command of Lieut. K. M. Carmichael. 

About 6 o clock in the afternoon a message from Australian 
headquarters told Lovett that aeroplane observation revealed what 
appeared to be Australian posts, isolated, but still holding out, in 

[127] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

the immediate vicinity of Mouquet Farm. In an effort to confirm 
this and to establish connection with such posts, if they actually 
existed, No. 1 Coy. launched a bombing attack along its trench to 
the left, and tried hard to push its way into the Farm itself. 
Fully 150 yards of enemy trench was captured in this manner, 
but resistance stiffened with every foot of the advance and eventu 
ally the Canadians were brought to a standstill. The remainder of 
the night was spent in clinging desperately to what had been gained, 
against repeated bombing attacks by the enemy. 

In the meantime, No. 2 Coy. had driven off a similar series of 
attacks, but had suffered sharply from enemy shell fire. At mid 
night, the Lewis guns for which he had asked not having arrived, 
Macpherson decided to make his way back to see what was the 
matter. He found Lieut-Col. Buchanan in Battalion Headquarters 
at Pozieres and learned from the latter that No. 3 Coy., under 
Major Peterman, had moved up and was in position somewhere to 
the left of the front his own company was holding. Returning to 
No. 2 Coy., Macpherson took with him the two machine guns he 
required and used these to strengthen his unprotected flanks. 

Such, then, were the adventures and misadventures of Nos. 1 
and 2 Companies up to the hour of dawn on the morning of Sep 
tember 4th. During all this time the remaining companies had not 
been inactive. At 2 p.m. on September 3rd, No. 3 Coy. advanced 
from la Boisselle, followed by No. 4 Coy. at 5 p.m. Battalion Head 
quarters was moved up to a position in the Cemetery at Pozieres 
Wood and at 9 p.m. the 13th Royal Highlanders of Canada officially 
took over from the 52nd, 51st and 41st Australian Battalions, No. 3 
Coy. moving up and digging in somewhat in advance of the position 
occupied by No. 4 Coy. During the night both companies were 
heavily shelled, but tackled with energy the work of carrying in the 
Australian wounded, many of whom had been lying out in the open 
for long weary hours, and some for days. In this work and 
throughout the strenuous days that followed, Lieut. T. B. D. Tud- 
ball, Sergt.-Major Mather, Sergt. McKay and Sergt. W. C. Pearce 
rendered service of the finest character. 

September 4th was a trying day for all the companies. Shelling 
was almost continuous and rain in the morning did not add to the 
men s comfort. No. 1 Coy. had received no rations for over 24 
hours, but foraged about and discovered some excellent coffee in 
huge glass bottles, a souvenir left behind by the enemy when the 

[128] 




THE SOMME 



CALE. - MILES 




\ND AMIENS 



THE SOMME 

Australian attack drove them out. This, with their own and Ger 
man emergency rations, kept the men from feeling the absence of 
the regular rations too acutely. 

No. 2 Coy. also suffered from shortage of food on this day, 
as well as from enemy shelling-, which was persistent and accurate. 
At night connection with No. 3 Coy. was definitely established. No. 
3 also connected up with No. 4 during the night so that, by day^ 
break on the 5th, the Battalion was acting as a co-ordinated unit once 
more. 

At 6 o clock in the morning a Red Cross flag appeared between 
the lines on No. 1 Coy s, front and German stretcher bearers began 
to carry in their wounded. These bearers were unmolested by the 
Canadians, who took advantage of the situation to remove some of 
their own casualties. During this "armistice," Major Lovett noticed 
that several wounded Germans, eluding their own bearers, slipped 
into his trench and surrendered. This suggested to him that the 
morale of the German troops opposite him might not be of the 
highest order and that an attempt to induce them to surrender might 
be worth while. Accordingly, as soon as the Red Cross Flag was 
withdrawn, Lovett and an Australian sergeant advanced to a posi 
tion half way between the lines and tried to induce the Germans to 
come out. A measure of success seemed to be rewarding this move 
until a German officer appeared and promptly opened, fire, his ex 
ample being immediately followed by all his men. With a crash of 
rifle fire from their trenches, the Royal Highlanders endeavoured to 
drive the Germans under cover and give the daring negotiators a 
chance to escape. In this effort the men of No. 1 Coy. were only 
partially successful. Lovett got in, but the Australian sergeant was 
shot and instantly killed. 

Following this incident enemy artillery fire increased and about 
1 p.m. word was passed up from the right that Germans could be 
seen pouring up their communication trenches as if for a heavy 
attack. The Lahore Artillery, supporting the Canadians, also re 
ceived this information and laid down a heavy barrage which ap 
parently broke the enemy attack before it could develop. As if in 
reply to this, the German artillery redoubled its fire and pounded 
No. 1 Coy s trench heavily. By this time some sixty per cent, of 
the Company had become casualties and to this total, additions 
were being made with unpleasant frequency. Major Lovett suf 
fered his third wound of the war, an injury which held him in a 

[129] 
9 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

London hospital for the three months that followed, while Lieut. 
Carmichael and Coy. Sergt.-Major Bullock, both of whom had dis 
tinguished themselves throughout the engagement, were also 
wounded. In the evening Lieut. C. D. Llwyd, who had fought most 
courageously, led the weary and famished remnant of the Company 
back into reserve. 

Simultaneously with the relief of No. 1 Coy., it was arranged 
that three platoons of No. 2 Coy. should be relieved by No. 3 Coy. 
Through some misunderstanding relief for the fourth platoon of 
No. 2 Coy., under Lieut. H. E. Piercy, did not arrive. In a maze of 
almost unidentifiable trenches, it is not difficult for an error of this 
sort to occur, none the less it was hard on the men of the unfor 
tunate platoon, who for two extra days were compelled to hold their 
tiny bit of line. Of the one hundred and twenty bayonets which 
Macpherson led forward on the morning of the 3rd, about fifty 
remained when the action ended. 

While these events were in progress on the front of Nos. 1 and 
2 Companies, Nos. 3 and 4 were busily engaged in consolidating 
their positions. All day on September 5th they were subjected to 
heavy shell fire and were quite unable to obtain rations. Late in 
the day some water was brought up to them, but as this was strongly 
diluted with gasoline, it aggravated rather than assuaged their thirst 
and caused digestive complications which rendered the men entirely 
miserable. September 6th was again a day of heavy shell fire, 
hard work and general discomfort. At night the 14th Canadian 
Battalion relieved No. 4 Coy., which withdrew to Wire Trench (near 
la Boisselle). On the following night the 13th Battalion was re 
lieved by the 8th Canadian Battalion and proceeded to billets in 
Albert, where a hot meal was served to the exhausted men as soon 
as they arrived. 

Taking it all in all, the Battalion s first experience on the Somme 
had been a hard one. Thrown into a fight before they had any real 
conception of the area, with their flanks in the air, and under a 
strange command, the men of Nos. 1 and 2 Companies had acquitted 
themselves in a highly creditable manner, while their comrades in 
the other companies, many of them in their first engagement, had 
behaved with the coolness and reliability of seasoned veterans. 
Casualties had, of course, been severe. In addition to the officers 
already mentioned, Capt. C. R. Chisholm was wounded, as were 
Lieuts A S MacLean, H. R. Monsarrat and H. T. Higinbotham, 

[130] 



THE SOMME 

while amongst the rank and file 60 men were killed, 247 were 
wounded and 16 were missing, a heavy list, considering that the 
Battalion had been employed in what ranked merely as a minor 
phase of the great engagement. 

II 

September 8th, the first day in billets after a strenuous tour, was 
spent in resting and cleaning equipment. On the 9th the 3rd Cana 
dian Brigade moved to Warloy, the 13th Battalion parading at 9 
a.m. and reaching the new billets a few minutes before 1 o clock. 
In the afternoon the baths at Rue de Guise were allotted to the men, 
who paraded in parties of 25 under an officer or N.C.O. On the 
10th the Brigade moved to Herissart, a short distance which was 
covered in a march of about an hour and a half. The next day the 
Brigade continued its march to the Rest Area at Montrelet- 
Bonneville. 

Several days were spent in this area, the time being employed in 
all the multitudinous details that require attention when a Battalion 
has just emerged from a tour in the line and is preparing for 
another. On September 12th no orders for parades were issued, 
but the company commanders, at their own discretion, held rifle, 
gas helmet, ammunition and similar inspections. Most of the day, 
however, was spent in cleaning up the billets which were, without 
exception, the dirtiest the Battalion) had ever occupied. Carried 
away by enthusiasm at the results achieved, a large working party 
was ordered to clean up the whole town. 

On the following day the companies carried out independent 
training, as did the Machine Gunners, Bombers, Signallers and 
Intelligence Section. Postings on this date included the following: 
Major G. L. Mott to take command of No. 1 Coy. ; Lieuts. E. W. 
Mingo and J. B. Beddome posted to No. 3 Coy. Lieut. Mingo had 
served with the Battalion previously and had rejoined after re 
covering from wounds received at the Bluff in April. On the same 
date as the postings mentioned above the ranks of the 13th were 
reinforced by a draft of men from the 1st Canadian Entrenching 
Battalion. 

On the night of September 14th the Battalion was ordered to 
"stand to," as an operation of 1 some importance was being conducted 
by units of the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Divisions. This attack, 
wherein the British "Tanks" made their first appearance, was a 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

success, and support from the 1st Division was not needed. On 
the morrow the 13th paraded and moved to tents in the Vicogne 
area, proceeding from that point on the 16th and billeting in Harpon- 
ville, whence, as on the occasion of the Battalion s first visit a 
fortnight earlier, the roar of the great Somme battle was distinctly 
audible. 

September 17th was spent in Harponville, the men cleaning 
equipment and waiting hourly for orders to move. None arrived 
until the following day at noon, when the Battalion marched in 
pouring rain to the Brickfields at Albert. The only member of 
the Battalion who even pretended to enjoy this march was "Flora 
Macdonald," the Regimental goat, to whom the up hill and down 
dale nature of the route seemed to make some mysterious appeal. 
Perhaps it evoked memories of the far off Himalayas and rushing 
mountain torrents that poured down to the hot plains beneath. 
Who can say? All that one knows is that "Flora" splashed along 
the flooded roads and seemingly enjoyed herself immensely. In 
some places the roads were actually knee deep in water, so that, 
at 5 p.m., it was a wet and weary Battalion that built shelters out 
of old ammunition boxes and tarpaulins at the Brickfields. 

Rain continued all day on the 19th, the men spending much time 
in repairing their leaky quarters. Rifles were inspected to make 
certain that the rain had not put them in bad condition. On the 
20th the Brickfields were shelled to some extent, but no shells fell 
close enough to cause the Highlanders serious inconvenience. On 
this date a draft from the 92nd Highlanders, from Toronto, joined 
the 13th, bringing the latter very nearly up to strength once more. 
Shelling was again a feature on the 21st, but, as on the previous 
day, little damage was done, although one man, a member of the 
new draft, was wounded in the heel. While at the Brickfields 
shoulder patches were issued so that men of various units could be 
distinguished at a glance. In the case of the 13th these consisted 
of a red patch surmounted by a blue circle, the former indicating the 
1st Canadian Division and the latter the brigade and battalion. On 
the afternoon when these were issued the Brickfields presented an 
odd sight. Seated everywhere groups and individuals were busy 
sewing the bright pieces of cloth onto their tunics, as fast as Sergt. 
Stewart and the other tailors could cut the huge bolts of bright 
material into the required shapes. 

On the night of the 22nd the Battalion moved from the bivouacs 

[132] 



THE SOMME 

in the Brickfields to familiar billets in Albert. On the same date 
it was announced that Sergt. A. M. McLeod had been awarded the 
Russian Cross of St. George, 3rd Class, in recognition of courageous 
service, while postings included the following : Lieut. C. D. Llwyd to 
be Grenade Officer ; Lieut. M. C. W. Grant to be Assistant Grenade 
Officer; Lieut. T. G. Holley to be Assistant Intelligence Officer; 
Lieut. E. C. Bryson to be 2nd-in-command of No. 1 Coy.; Major 
S. W. Gilroy to be 2nd-in-command of No. 4 Coy. ; Coy. Sergt.- 
Major F. Spencer to be Acting Regimental Sergeant-Major, during 
the absence on leave of Regimental Sergeant-Major W. Chalmers. 

The following day was spent in preparing for the trenches and 
at night the Battalion moved up to relieve the 2nd Canadian Bat 
talion in front of Courcelette. On the whole the relief was un 
eventful. The Albert-Bapaume Road was crowded with ammuni 
tion limbers but, by taking to the side of the road and advancing in 
single file, the Battalion maintained a steady, if not rapid, rate of 
progress. From Pozieres the men proceeded along the light rail 
way track to a spot known as "K" Dump, thence overland for a bit 
and finally through some old communication trenches into the line. 

During the two days that followed artillery fire on both sides 
was heavy, while sniping and rifle fire were, if anything, a little 
below normal. Courcelette was bombarded almost ceaselessly by 
the enemy, some parties of the 13th being caught while coming- 
through the village and losing several men. The troops in the front 
line suffered appreciably from thirst, as their water bottles were 
soon emptied and such water as was delivered was abominably 
flavoured with gasoline. 

At night on the 25th, the 14th and 15th Battalions moved into 
the front line and prepared for an attack which they were to make 
in conjunction with other troops on the morrow. The presence of 
these extra troops crowded the front line to the uttermost, but for 
tunately the enemy reply to the bombardment in preparation for the 
attack, though heavy, was not well directed and casualties were ac 
cordingly light. It had been generally understood that the attack 
of the 14th and 15th Battalions would take place at dawn, but it 
was not until 1 1 o clock in the morning that the zero hour was even 
announced. At this time, owing to fear of listening sets, great 
secrecy as to the zero hour of an attack was insisted upon and the 
hour was never mentioned aloud in the trenches. When it was 
necessary to speak of it, officers were instructed to do so by code 

[133] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

signs, but as this method had its disadvantages, they usually com 
promised by naming the hour in a whisper. 

Shortly after noon the 14th and 15th went over the parapet and 
attacked. These splendid battalions pushed their assault home in 
a striking manner, but, as was so often the case on the Somme, 
where no ground was yielded without a desperate struggle, counter 
attacks during the next few days prevented consolidation of all the 
territory originally captured. 

Meanwhile the trenches of the 13th were subjected to a severe 
shelling, which caused numerous casualties, not only to the Royal 
Highlanders, but to the wounded from the attack, with whom the 
trenches were by this time crowded. Prisoners captured by the 
14th and 15th added to the congestion, but were made use of in 
evacuating casualties. Shelling continued all day and showed little 
sign of diminishing at nightfall. Bringing up rations through this 
barrage was a matter of no little difficulty and danger, nevertheless 
the duty was satisfactorily carried out by a party under Lieut. T. 
B. D. Tudball, who deposited the supplies at Battalion Headquarters, 
whence the companies in the line were to draw them. 

On this occasion Lieut.-Col. Buchanan had his headquarters in 
a dugout in Courcelette and had with him Major W. F. Peterman 
and Capt. C. C. Green, these officers acting respectively as Second- 
in-command and Adjutant during the absence on leave of Major 
G. E. McCuaig and Lieut. C. D. Craig. Having dumped the rations, 
Lieut. Tudball reported to Major Peterman, who approved of a 
suggestion that the ration party should remain at headquarters till 
the barrage on the road back had become less severe. During the 
interval that followed Lieut.-Col. Buchanan noticed that Tudball 
showed signs of exhaustion and gave the latter a drink of whiskey. 
Some time later, the barrage having eased a little, the ration party 
withdrew. 

No one knows exactly what happened in that busy dugout at 
about 8.30 p.m. Who can ever describe a moment of high tragedy 
and disaster? All that is certain is that a shell burst in the roof 
and walls and ignited a supply of gasoline, the explosion and flames 
leaving death and ruin in their wake. All in a moment the Battalion 
suffered a grievous loss. Lieut.-Col. Buchanan was killed, as were 
Major Peterman and Capt. Green. With them perished eight of 
the headquarters staff, while thirty-three others, staff and runners, 
were horribly burned or wounded, among these being Corp. H. 

[134] 



THE SOMME 

Day, in command of the scouts and runners on duty. With the 
death of the Commanding Officer and the Acting Second-in- 
command, control of the Battalion passed for the time being to 
Major J. D. Macpherson, who handed over to Major G. E. McCuaig 
when the latter returned from leave on the following morning. 

All day on the 27th the Battalion remained in the line, enduring 
shelling even more severe than on the 26th. A mopping up party 
on this date cleared the battlefield over which the 14th and 15th 
had advanced on the previous day, no light task in view of the fact 
that many wounded had to be evacuated over terrain so churned 
up that the removal of a single case was often a matter calling for 
all the strength and endurance that eight men could bring to bear. 

At one point the subaltern in charge of the mopping up dis 
covered an enormous Hun lying on the ground. Stirring this 
individual gently with his foot, the officer suggested by signs that 
he get up and make his way to the rear. Replying in a similar man 
ner, the German intimated that his wounds were too severe, so 
stretcher bearers were summoned. Owing to the weight of the 
wounded man, the journey back was a trying one, but at last the 
stretcher bearers, nearly exhausted, reached a point not far from 
the dressing station and laid their burden down for a moment s 
rest. To their almost speechless indignation the Htm thereupon 
rose from the stretcher, wandered about for a minute or so and, 
returning to the stretcher, lay down again with an air of ineffable 
content. The bearers, naturally, forced the Hun to walk the short 
distance that remained, but in view of the fact that he could prob 
ably have made the whole journey in this manner, none could deny 
that he had scored handsomely. 

At night word reached the Highlanders that the 14th Battalion 
required assistance to counter-attack a position on the right. No. 
4 Coy. was assigned to this duty and command for the occasion 
given to Lieut. H. A. Johnston. About midnight guides from the 
14th Battalion arrived to lead Lieut. Johnston and his Company 
forward and shortly afterward the move began. 

It had been arranged that the 14th Battalion would place lights 
facing to the rear to mark the assembly position. There is no doubt 
that these were placed in position, but a heavy fog fell and they 
were quite indistinguishable. Similarly, the few landmarks that 
existed in this dreary and devastated area were completely enveloped 
and lost to view. In the inky blackness of the dripping night and 

[135] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

in the maze of water filled shell holes under foot, the guides as 
was almost inevitable, failed in their allotted task. Time was lost 
wandering around trying to identify trenches and shell holes that 
had no individual characteristics, and the party was nowhere near 
the assembly point when the barrage that was to precede the attack 
began. Seeing that he had entirely missed his objective, Lieut. 
Johnston consulted with the officer guides of the 14th, who agreed 
with him that it was now quite useless to push on. Accordingly 
the venture was called off and Johnston, returning with his men to 
No. 4 Coy. headquarters, reported to Major Rowan the death of 
one of his party and the circumstances under which his mission had 
failed. 

While these events had been taking place the 22nd Battalion had 
relieved the Highlanders, the latter making their way through 
seemingly endless mud, back past Courcelette and the famous Sugar 
Refinery and on to billets in Albert. So exhausted were the men 
after the strenuous days in the line, that billets were not reached by 
the main body till long after dawn, while stragglers continued to 
arrive in for several hours after. During the tour casualties had 
amounted to 28 killed, 142 wounded and 9 missing. 

Meanwhile to Lieut. Tudball had fallen the sad task of convey 
ing to Albert for burial the bodies of Lieut.-Col. Buchanan, Major 
Peterman, Capt. Green and Lieut. G. N. Sale, the last named having 
fallen in action during the progress of the tour. It was with heavy 
hearts that officers and men attended the funeral, which took place 
in Albert on the morning of the 28th. While all ranks shared in 
the sorrow and regret caused by the death of a beloved commanding 
officer, the sense of personal loss was accentuated in the case of 
those veterans, few in number by this time, who had sailed from 
Canada with the First Canadian Contingent almost exactly two years 
before. To them Col. Buchanan had been more than a good com 
manding officer. They had served under him in times of peril and 
trusted and looked up to him in a manner that bore testimony, more 
eloquent than words, to the very definite affection that existed 
between them. 

Major Peterman, too, had been an original officer and had served 
the Battalion with inspired devotion. Twice he had been wounded, 
but on each occasion his high courage and deep sense of duty had 
hastened his recovery, so that he might rejoin the Regiment and 
continue to serve with the least possible loss of time. Capt. Green 

[136] 



THE SOMME 

and Lieut. Sale had been with the 13th for a shorter time, but they, 
too, by reason of their loyal and capable service, had won a place 
in the regard of both officers and men. 

Canon Scott officiated at the funeral and the dead received all 
honours that grieving comrades could bestow. Military funerals are 
of necessity brief and this was no exception. When the beautiful 
lines of the burial service had been read, the rifles spoke their 
farewell, the bugle sounded the "Last Post," officers and men saluted 
with deep respect and, turning away, left the four gallant soldiers 
to their well earned rest. 

Ill 

On the afternoon of September 28th the Battalion, weary- after 
the hardships of the previous days, paraded at three o clock and 
marched to Warloy, No. 2 Coy. detailing 1 officer and 6 men to 
march in the rear of the column to pick up stragglers. No 
regular parades were held on the 29th, though company commanders 
inspected rifles and checked shortages of kit, submitting lists of 
deficiencies to the Quartermaster, so that the Battalion might be 
made ready for the next tour in the line. On the following day 
Gen. Currie visited the Battalion, complimented the men on their 
steadiness during the recent engagements and spoke most feelingly 
of the loss that the Division had suffered through the death of 
Lieut-Col. Buchanan. 

With the advent of October the Royal Highlanders began active 
preparations for an attack against Regina Trench. Little could be 
accomplished for several days owing to inclement weather, but 
during this time the men bathed and received clean clothing at 
Warloy; were paid and practised bayonet fighting, while the com 
panies managed to get in a two hour training period each day, as 
did the Machine Gun, Bombing and Signalling Sections. 

On October 4th the morning was devoted to physical training, 
bayonet fighting and musketry instruction, but in the afternoon the 
weather cleared and several hours were given to the practice of 
battalion in attack. On the 5th the Battalion marched to Albert, 
this route being full of significance to the veterans who knew from 
past experience that a march to Albert meant dirty work ahead. The 
next morning a move was made to the Brickfields, where some time 
was spent in bayonet fighting and practising the attack. In the 
afternoon preparations were made for a tour in the line, but about 

[137] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

3 p.m. this programme was cancelled and for it was substituted an 
order for a large party to work on repairing roads. 

On the morning of the 7th the Battalion again practised the 
attack, while on the same date Major G. E. McCuaig issued his 
operation order dealing with the engagement now imminent. Sum 
marized, this order was as follows: 

(1) The Canadian Corps is co-operating with the 3rd British 
Corps in offensive operations. 

The 69th Infantry Brigade will be on the right of the 1st Cana 
dian Infantry Brigade. 

The 9th Canadian Infantry Brigade will be on the left of the 
3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade. 

(2) The objective of the 1st Canadian Division will be Below 
Trench, and thence Regina Trench. 

(3) The 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade will attack on a front 
of two battalions, the 13th Battalion on the left and the 16th Bat 
talion on the right. 

(4) The 13th Battalion will move forward in waves, No. 1 
Coy. forming the right and No. 4 Coy. the left of the first two 
waves. No. 2 Coy. will form the 3rd wave. No. 3 Coy. will be in 
reserve in the support trench, and will replace the first three waves 
in the front line, when the latter have moved forward. 

(5) The time of the assault will be notified later. 

(6) No. 2 Coy. will detail mopping up parties, in case any are 
required. 

(7) Each company will be supplied with a small candle lamp 
with blue glass, to put up, if possible, close to their H.Q s., facing 
back. 

No. 2 Coy. will take up a white tape line, to establish a route 
back to the jumping off trenches. 

The Signallers will try to establish two lines to the forward 
objective. 

(8) Prisoners should be collected, disarmed, and sent back un 
der escort to Battalion H.Q s. Slightly wounded men should be 
used for this purpose, but escorts must be adequate to handle 
prisoners. 

(9) It is important to locate the front line definitely. Flares 
and periscope mirrors will be used for this purpose. 

In accordance with these orders, the 13th Battalion, Royal High 
landers of Canada, paraded at 4 o clock in the afternoon of October 

[138] 



THE SOMME 

7th and proceeded forward. In the original operation order, quoted 
above, it had been announced that three companies would take part 
in the attack, with one in reserve, but, while passing through Po- 
zieres on the way in, the Battalion received orders from 3rd Brig-ade 
Headquarters to throw all four companies into the assault, this 
being considered advisable owing to the fact that the companies 
were much under strength as the result of recent casualties. In 
order to comply with these instructions, a halt was made near the 
Courcelette Sugar Refinery and the dispositions of the companies 
adjusted. 

Subsequently an officer of the 15th Battalion reported to Major 
McCuaig that the jumping off trenches had been prepared and were 
all in readiness. Accordingly, the men moved forward and oc 
cupied these trenches, Battalion Headquarters being established in 
an old German ammunition dugout, with two entrances side by 
side. One of these was for boxes of ammunition and gave access 
to a long, slippery chute, which led down to the dugout floor. The 
other was the regular entrance connected with the usual stairway 
for human beings. Some seven or eight hundred yards away from 
this position was Regina Trench, the first objective of the attack, 
and beyond it the village of Pys, against which Major F. T. Rowan 
was to lead his men, should the attack on Regina prove successful. 

Sharp at 4.50 a.m., Rowan, who had quite recovered from his 
wounds of the previous April, led the attacking waves over the 
parapet. It was pitch dark at this hour, but a line of telegraph 
poles, leading straight to the objective, gave assurance that direction 
would be maintained without serious difficultv. 

^ 

After the waves of the attack had gone forward the small 
garrison left in the jumping off trenches and the officers and men 
of Battalion Headquarters waited eagerly for news. Some un 
easiness began to be felt as time passed and no word came back, 
but the crash and thunder of the supporting guns was reassuring and 
inspired confidence. After all the practice and all the careful 
planning, it seemed impossible that anything could go seriously 
wrong. 

When night faded and the eastern sky began to show a hint of 
dawn without any news having arrived, uneasiness gave place to 
acute anxiety and acute anxiety to certainty that all was not well. 
Suddenly, Major McCuaig and the officers in Battalion Headquarters 
were startled by the arrival of a huge private, who, mistaking the 

[1391 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

entrance to the dugout, rolled down the ammunition chute and 
sprawled on the floor at their feet. He was covered with mud 
from head to toe, blood dripped from a shattered arm and, even 
as they helped him from the ground, all present realized that such 
a figure at such a time could be only a messenger of disaster. 
Recovering his equilibrium, the private turned to Major McCuaig 
and delivered his report. It consisted of three words only. "Sir," 
said he, "we re b d." 

Unfortunately the news conveyed in this expressive, if unorth 
odox, manner was all too true. The attack, it appeared, had pro 
gressed smoothly over the long stretch of No Man s Land, but, on 
sweeping forward for the actual plunge into Regina Trench, had run 
into a great mass of uncut wire. Day had dawned as the men were 
struggling to get through this and the Germans manning Regina 
Trench had opened up with machine gun and rifle fire and cut the 
attacking waves to ribbons. Proof that this explanation of what 
had happened was correct was found later when scores of the 
Highland dead were seen hanging limply over the wires that had 
proved their undoing. 

Only on the right flank had the wire been properly cut and here 
a party of the Battalion, under Lieut. Sykes, pushed forward and 
drove their way into the Trench. Further to the right, the 16th 
Battalion, Canadian Scottish, achieved success and occupied Regina 
Trench in some force. Failure elsewhere, however, compelled the 
16th to retire and to give up the ground they had won so dearly. 
With them returned some 20 men of the 13th, members of the party 
which had succeeded in reaching its objective. 

Details of the attack are extremely hard to obtain. In the 
13th Battalion 17 officers and 360 men went forward and of these 
13 officers and 288 men were casualties. At first it was feared that 
15 officers were casualties, but at night this number was reduced 
to 13, when Lieut. T. G. Holley and Lieut. J. A. Plante, who had 
lain out all day in the German wire, got safely in and reported for 
duty. 

Meanwhile, the small band of survivors, reinforced by the Colt 
Gun Sections and by a company of the 15th Battalion, 48th High 
landers, of Toronto, had manned and were holding the jumping off 
trenches from which the ill-fated attack had been launched. Lieut- 
Col. Bent, of the 15th, offered to send up additional assistance, as 
soon as news reached him of the heavy losses the 13th had sustained. 
This offer was much appreciated by the Royal Highlanders and 

[140] 



THE SOMME 

was in keeping with the loyal spirit of co-operation and friendship 
which existed between all the battalions of the 3rd Brigade, but 
Major McCuaig decided that the situation did not render its ac 
ceptance necessary. 

When night fell once more, Lieut. C. D. Llwyd took a patrol 
out into No Man s Land to see if he could obtain any information 
about the large number of men regarding whose fate nothing definite 
was known. This patrol covered a considerable area, but could get 
little news of value. Bit by bit, however, from a score of sources, 
some details as to the fate of individuals were collected. Major 
F. J. Rowan, who led the attack, was badly wounded. Stretcher 
bearers started back with him, but the little party never reached its 
destination. Presumably all were killed by shell fire somewhere in 
No Man s Land. Major S. W. Gilroy and Lieuts. H. E. Piercy, 
K. Ml Carmichael, John Grey, E. C. Bryson and A. H. Walker were 
also killed. The last named was a brother of Lieut. J. G. Walker, 
killed while with the Battalion in the previous June. In addition 
to these Capt. R. W. Fordham, Capt. J. D. Gunn and Lieut. E. W. 
Mingo had been wounded and taken prisoner, while Capt. G. C. 
Hamilton had been captured and Lieut. H. G. Irving wounded. 

All day on the 8th, all that night and all the next day, the remnant 
of the 13th Battalion clung to the jumping-off trenches, suffering 
a number of additional casualties from shelling, which at times was 
severe. Among those who fell was Lieut. H. A. McCleave, who 
was injured while proceeding overland between the jumping-off and 
original front line trenches, and died of his wounds in hospital. 
During all this trying time, Lieut. Plante and Lieut. Holley, who 
had escaped from the disaster, as previously noted, together with 
Lieut. Tudball and Sergt. Wallace, did much by their example to 
inspire their men and encourage them to face with fortitude the 
severe strain that holding the line with such a fragmentary force 
entailed. 

On the night of October 9th, the 2nd Brigade relieved the 3rd 
Brigade, and the 13th Battalion, or rather what was left of it, with 
drew to billets in Albert. So reduced was the unit that practically 
the whole Battalion rode back from Pozieres on the limbers, which 
the Transport Officer had thoughtfully sent forward. No. 4 Coy. 
consisted of two subalterns and eleven men, while the other com 
panies were only a little stronger, the four combined showing a 
strength of just 100 all ranks. Surely the Battalion bore the mark 
of having been through that place of evil which was the Somme. 

[141] 



CHAPTER XI 

The Winter of 1916-1917 

Out here the dogs of war run loose, 

Their whipper-in is Death; 

Across the spoilt and battered fields 

We hear their sobbing breath. 

The fields where grew the living corn 

Are heavy with our dead ; 

Yet still the fields at home are green 

Though here the grass is red. 

M. A. BELL. 



FOLLOWING the month at the Somme, during which the 
13th Battalion entered the line on three occasions and suf 
fered casualties in excess of the fighting" strength with which 
it had entered that area, a move to a less strenuous district was 
begun. On October 10th, the first day in billets after the Regina 
Trench disaster, the morning was spent in resting and cleaning 
equipment, while in the afternoon a muster roll call was held to 
check the lists of killed, wounded and missing. The appearance of 
the Battalion on this occasion brought a lump into the throats of 
those who recalled the splendid unit, up to full strength, which 
had swung into Albert from Harponville less than six weeks before. 
Only in smartness and morale did the skeleton companies on this 
date resemble the companies of early September. No. 4 Coy., 
with its two officers and eleven men, presented a particularly tragic 
sight, but the two officers were spick and span, while the men s equip 
ment shone as a result of the morning s labour. The Somme had 
shattered the 13th Canadian Battalion, but had failed to subdue the 
Regiment s fighting spirit. 

On the following day reveille was sounded at 5 a.m., breakfast 
was at 5.30 and at 8.15 the Battalion, strengthened by a draft which 
had joined the previous day, moved off to Vadencourt, reaching 

[142] 



THE WINTER OF 1916-1917 

billets shortly before 1 p.m. A feature of this march occurred near 
Warloy, when a "sister" battalion, the 73rd Royal Highlanders of 
Canada, under Lieut. -Col. Peers Davidson, was encountered. The 
73rd belonged to the 4th Canadian Division, which had recently 
arrived in France and was now on its way to win its spurs at the 
Somme. Dividing ranks, the men of the 73rd lined the road and 
allowed the 13th to pass through, expressing their feeling towards 
the veterans by a stirring roar of cheers. Immediately following 
this incident the 13th halted and the men of the two battalions ex 
changed news and gossip concerning mutual friends at home, or 
experiences endured in France. A large number of men had been 
drafted from the 73rd while the latter was still in England, and 
many of these had reinforced the 13th, consequently the two bat 
talions had even more in common than parentage and Regimental 
tradition. 

Two days were spent with Headquarters at Vadencourt, the time 
being occupied in squad drill, musketry practice, bayonet fighting and 
practice of companies in the attack, these manoeuvres being carried 
out at the Training Area, north of Contay, which could be reached 
from Vadencourt in an easy half hour s march. During these two 
days all the men of drafts which had reinforced the Battalion were 
paraded before the Medical Officer for physical examination. 

Following this short interval of training, the Battalion moved on 
October the 14th to camps at Val de Maison. Here one day was 
spent, the Battalion parading for Divine Service before Major 
Creegan in the morning and the afternoon being devoted to resting 
and cleaning equipment. On October 16th the Battalion proceeded 
to Halloy les Pernois, where three days were spent in training, 
special attention being paid to bayonet fighting, company training 
and extended order drill. On the morning of the 20th billets were 
thoroughly cleaned by the men and inspected by the Medical Officer, 
this being the accepted and time honoured routine previous to a 
move. At 10 a.m. the Battalion marched and at noon the men were 
agreeably surprised to find that they had reached their destination, 
as the impression had got abroad that the march was to be a long 
one. Berneuil proved to be the spot selected for the overnight 
stop, however, and here in the afternoon the men were paid, Lieut. 
Heaslip acting as Paymaster, during the absence of Capt. Appleton, 
who was in hospital. 

Continuing their march on the 21st, the Highlanders moved to 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Villers 1 Hopital and thence on the 22nd to Sibiville. During this 
latter march a halt was called just before reaching Frevent and the 
sections of the Battalion, which had been marching independently, 
were formed up in column with the full pipe band at the head. 
In this order and marching "at attention," the unit swung through 
the town, halting again at the other side to rest the men before 
climbing the long, steep hill up to Sericourt and on TO Sibiville. 
Moves were again made on the two days that followed, Averdoignt 
being the destination on the 23rd and Frevillers on the 24th. From 
this latter point Major G. E. McCuaig and a group of officers 
reconnoitred a position at Souchez, which was to be occupied by 
the Battalion on its next tour in the line. October 25th was a 
quiet day, but on the 26th the Battalion marched in the morning and 
reached Camblain 1 Abbe about 1 p.m. The afternoon and evening 
were devoted to preparations for taking over the new front. 

The series of trench tours that began at this time awoke in the 
minds of those veterans who had served in the previous year 
memories of the winter tours before Messines. Conditions were 
by no means identical, but there was enough similarity to evoke 
interesting comparisons. The Battalion was again under strength, 
weather conditions were again abominable, necessitating constant 
repairs to the trenches, dugouts and parapets, but the enemy seemed 
more active and the routine considerably more varied. 

Moving into the line on October 27th, the 13th Canadian Bat 
talion relieved the 13th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, in an area 
bounded by Gobron Trench and Vincent Street. This position was 
on Vimy Ridge, which had been the scene of bitter fighting by the 
French in the previous year and which was destined to be the 
setting for a great Canadian triumph in the spring that lay ahead. 
The ruins of Souchez and Ablain St. Nazaire were overlooked from 
Battalion Headquarters, situated in Zouave Valley, where, owing 
to the protection afforded by the steep sides of the Ridge, it was 
comparatively safe to move about in the open even at mid-day. 
From the front line trenches on top of the Ridge, Lens could be 
seen on a fine day, but, as the ground between the opposing lines 
was flat, the Highlanders enjoyed no advantage of observation over 
the enemy trenches. 

During the week of the first tour enemy trench mortars were 
active, causing damage that necessitated much repair work, but 
inflicting only 7 casualties. Much sniping also took place, while 

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THE WINTER OF 1916-1917 

at night the Highlanders patrols were active, scouring No Man s 
Land to familiarize themselves with all topographical details that 
might prove of future interest and value. 

On October 30th a small draft joined the Battalion, the majority 
of these being veterans of previous engagements now recovered 
from wounds. A day or so later a draft of officers arrived, among 
these being Major K. M. Perry, D.S.O. and Lieut. W. G. Hamilton, 
M.C., both of whom had recovered from wounds received in the 
Sanctuary Wood battle of the previous June. On rejoining the 
Battalion, Major Perry became Second-in-Command, while Lieut. 
Hamilton took over his old post of Battalion Machine Gun Officer. 
Amongst other wounded officers who rejoined at, or about, this time, 
were Capt. I. M. R. Sinclair and Lieuts. W. E. Macfarlane, N. M. 
MacLean, W. S. M. MacTier and W. H. D. Bennett. 

At noon on November 3rd the 14th Battalion took over the 
front and the 13th moved to reserve positions at Cabaret Rouge and 
Berthonval Wood. A week was spent in reserve, during which 
the weather was bad for the most part and a great deal of trouble 
caused by sudden freshets, which flooded some dugouts and floated 
their contents away. The terrain surrounding the positions was 
exceedingly bleak and bare and pitted with innumerable shell holes, 
which bore silent testimony to the strenuous times of the previous 
year. These shell holes, grass grown or water rilled according to 
their location, were a dreary sight, but there is evidence that at 
least one old timer regarded them with considerable satisfaction. 
Explaining his attitude to a newcomer, this canny Scot let drop 
a pearl of wisdom, "Weel, laddie, y see its this way. A thae shell 
holes filled wi gr-r-ass are auld shell holes. Nary a yin o them but 
is months auld and if ye ll stop a meenit ye ll appr-r-eciate the 
signeeficance o that, while as for-r those filled wi watter, a mon can 
per-r-haps bathe his per-r-son, wi oot some fule raisin a hell and 
a o fuss aboot watter bein for dr-r-inkin purposes only." 

In spite of the bad weather during this period, or perhaps it 
would be more accurate to say because of it, working parties at 
night were by no means infrequent. The rain permeated the chalky 
soil, causing parapets and dugouts to cave in, so there was a constant 
demand for repair work and construction materials, not only in the 
reserve area, but also in the front line. These parties were, as al 
ways, extremely unpopular, as the work was arduous, without any 
compensating glory or excitement. One party, on reporting at the 

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10 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

well known Souchez Dump, found that their task was to carry 
large sheets of corrugated iron to a point in Zouave Valley. Each 
man hoisted his load onto his back and at the word of command 
the party stumbled forward. The route was by way of a light 
railway embankment, which had been built up some twelve feet 
high across a marsh. All went well with the party, who with bent 
backs were plodding dismally forward, until an S.O.S. station, hid 
den somewhere at the foot of the embankment, set off a series of 
huge rockets which missed the company by a narrow 
margin. Taken by surprise and considerably startled, some men 
stopped dead, or turned aside, with the result that a series of col 
lisions rolled a number of men and their heavy burdens over the 
embankment and into the swamp below. The bitterness of the re 
criminations that followed is left to the reader s sympathetic 
imagination. 

After a week in reserve, the 13th Battalion was relieved by the 
1st Battalion on the afternoon of November 10th and proceeded to 
billets at Camblain TAbbe. Here, on the following day, blankets 
were issued to all who required them and the advent of winter 
was proclaimed by the issue of khaki trews. On November 12th 
the companies paraded and proceeded to the Divisional Gas School 
at Maisnil-Bouche to be fitted with a new type of box respirator. 
At the school the men were drilled in the use of the new equipment, 
and afterwards, with the helmets on, were marched into a hut where 
the atmosphere was charged with gas, to make sure that none of the 
respirators were defective. Later in the day, in parties of sixty, 
the men paraded to the Divisional baths, where, when bathing was 
completed, each man was provided with clean underclothes and 
socks. During the afternoon the Battalion moved back about a mile 
from Camblain 1 Abbe to Cambligneul. 

On this date there appeared in orders the following promotion : 
Major G. E. McCuaig, Second-in-command of the 13th Canadian 
Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, is promoted Lieut.-Colonel, 
vice Lieut-Col. V. C. Buchanan, D.S.O. (killed 27-9- 16). While 
this promotion was merely the official announcement of what had 
been confidently expected, it was acceptable to officers and men alike 
and Lieut-Col. McCuaig was the recipient of many congratulations 
and good wishes. 

For nearly a week the 13th remained at Cambligneul, large 
parties attending courses of instruction in the use of Stokes Guns, 

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THE WINTER OF 1916-1917 

Lewis Guns, bombs and so forth. These courses, held at the 
Divisional Schools at Maisnil-Bouche, occupied the greater part of 
the time that would under ordinary circumstances have been de 
voted to company training and routine drills. 

It was during this week at Cambligneul that the Battalion 
abandoned as its official head dress the Glengarry, with the Black 
Watch badge, and substituted for it the Balmoral bonnet, with the 
famous Red Hackle. This change was no ordinary alteration of 
uniform, but represented a distinct milestone in the history of the 
Regiment, as the Red Hackle was an honour highly prized. On 
January 4th, 1795, the Black Watch Regiment had gained this dis 
tinction while serving- against the French at Guildermausen, in 
Flanders, by an act of devotion and bravery involving the recapture 
of some abandoned guns. Through affiliation with the Black 
Watch, the 13th might have worn this red vulture feather from the 
beginning, but officers had decided that it was not fitting for a new 
and untried battalion, merely because of affiliation, to wear a battle 
honour that had been the pride and glory of the Black Watch for 
over a hundred years. Accordingly, permission to wear the Red 
Hackle had been withheld until on the bloody fields of Ypres, Festu- 
bert, Sanctuary Wood and the Somme, the Battalion had earned the 
distinction in its own right. 

At its first parade following the issue of the Balmorals and Red 
Hackle, the 13th was honoured by a visit from the Corps Com 
mander, Lieut.-Gen. Sir Julian Byng, who conducted a careful in 
spection. After this event the men were paid, allowing them to 
purchase a few extras to make them more comfortable during the 
next tour in the line. 

On the morning of November 18th the Battalion moved up and 
relieved the 8th Canadian Battalion in Brigade Support, in the 
Carency Sector. Here four days were spent, with working parties 
busy the greater part of the time building dugouts, repairing 
trenches and carrying materials up to the front line. On November 
22nd the Battalion moved forward from support and relieved the 
14th Battalion, which was occupying the front line from Gobron 
Trench (exclusive) to Gabriel Trench (inclusive). These trenches 
were situated to the left of those on Vimy Ridge that the Battalion 
occupied during the previous tour. On the whole the tour that 
followed was a lively one, the enemy sending over a large number 
of trench mortar shells and rifle grenades, while the Canadians 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Stokes Guns and trench mortars were also active. Machine gun 
fire was brisk, particularly after nightfall. 

On November 26th Nos. 1 and 2 Companies of the 13th were 
relieved by the 14th Canadian Battalion, Nos. 3 and 4 Companies 
remaining in the line with the 14th to assist in consolidating the 
crater of a mine to be blown on the night of the 27th. This event 
took place as scheduled and resulted in a stirring bombardment by 
both sides in which trench mortars, Stokes guns, Minenwerfers, 
machine guns and rifle grenades all came into play. One lucky 
German shell exploded a large supply of ammunition stored at 
Liverpool Dump and altogether things for an hour or so were very 
busy, though, fortunately, the crater of the new mine was occupied 
and consolidated without much loss. In all, the casualties of the 
13th for the tour were 2 killed and 5 wounded, amongst the latter 
being Lieut. H. H. Heal, who had rejoined the Battalion after re 
covering from wounds received in the previous June. 

While Nos. 3 and 4 Companies were engaged in the minor 
operation mentioned above, Nos. 1 and 2 Companies moved to 
Brigade Reserve at Villers-au-Bois, whence they provided working 
parties that taxed their limited numbers to the utmost. Most of 
these parties carried material for the 176th Tunnelling Company, 
who were at work in the neighbourhood, and whose demands for 
supplies were so insistent that even the pipe band of the Highlanders 
was pressed into service to meet them. 

On the last day of November the companies of the 13th, re 
united once more, moved up and took over the trenches held during 
the previous tour. Here they remained for four days, which were 
by no means eventless. On December 1st the enemy s trench mor 
tars were active, particularly between 5 and 6 p.m., when a heavy 
"shoot" caused a great deal of damage to the Highlanders trenches. 
Somewhat later an enemy patrol of about 12 men was seen advanc 
ing towards one of a series of saps. Fire from a Lewis gun was 
opened on this group by Corp. Crossley, who alone of the gun crew 
had survived the previous bombardment, and several of the Germans 
were seen to fall. 

Trench mortars were active again on the following day, one 
large shell scoring a direct hit on a Stokes gun emplacement and 
killing the entire crew. As a small offset to this misfortune, one 
of the Battalion snipers spotted a couple of Germans looking over 

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THE WINTER OF 1916-1917 

their parapet and picked one off with a neat shot that was un 
doubtedly successful. 

Patrols were active on the night of December 3rd, encountering 
and dispersing several enemy patrols and working parties. As a 
result of these little expeditions much information was obtained 
concerning the state of the enemy s trenches and dispositions. 
Casualties for the tour amounted to 20 in all, 7 men being killed, 
9 wounded and 4 missing, presumed killed. 

On the morning of December 4th Lieut. Appleby, the Signalling 
Officer, took charge of the guides to lead in the 4th Canadian 
Battalion, which was relieving. Unit commanders reported the 
completion of relief by use of the code word "Columbine" and, 
when all units had been accounted for, the 13th proceeded to billets 
at Cambligneul, halting at a spot on the Carency Road where the 
cook-kitchens had hot tea in readiness. 

At Cambligneul the Highlanders remained for a week, carrying 
out a definitely prepared syllabus of training. Two large drafts 
were received during this period, these bringing the companies up 
to something approaching full fighting strength. While it is not 
desirable to enter into the details of each day s training, an idea of 
the whole may be gained from the programme carried out on 
December 6th, which was as follows : 

7 a.m. ... . Reveille. 

7.10- 7.30a.m. . . Physical Training. 

9.00 - 10.00 a.m. . . Squad Drill. 

10.00 - 10.30 a.m. . . Respirator Drill. 

10.30-11.30 a.m. . Company Drill. 

11.45 a.m. .... Lecture to Officers. 

1.30- 2.30p.m. . . Layonet Fighting. 

2.30- 3.30 p.m. . . . Musketry. 

3.30- 4.00 p.m. . . Lecture by Coy. Officers. 

5.30 p.m. . . . Lecture to N.C.O s. 

The following lectures by officers to other ranks were included 
in the syllabus: (1) Discipline. (2) Organization and Responsi 
bility. (3) Trench Routine. (4) Principles of Defence in Trench 
Warfare. (5) Esprit de Corps. 

As the week at Cambligneul drew to a close preparations were 
begun for another tour in the forward area. The men had benefited 
from the intensive training and the new drafts had been satisfactor 
ily assimilated, consequently the Battalion was in good condition 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

physically, while the morale and esprit de corps left nothing to he 
desired. 

Snow fell heavily on the morning of the 12th, changing later to 
rain, so that the roads in many places were knee deep in mud and 
disagreeable for marching. Unfortunately this day had been 
selected for the Battalion to move forward, a plan which could not 
very well be changed on account of inclement weather. Accord 
ingly, the men paraded in the morning and relieved the 7th Canadian 
Battalion in the Berthonval Section at about 2 p.m. 

While holding the position taken over from the 7th, the 13th 
was in Brigade Support and working parties were kept busy. Some of 
these were employed at Liverpool Dump in carrying rations ; others 
entered the front line and dug ditches to draw off the super 
abundant supply of rain water, while still others repaired dugouts 
that had caved in as a result of the floods. Reports from these 
parties indicated that the German artillery was more active than for 
some time past and had apparently been augmented, probably as a 
result of the conclusion of the Battles of the Somme. 

After four days in reserve, the 13th Battalion took over a section 
of the front line, relieving the 14th R.M.R. on the morning of 
December 17th. About 3 o clock in the afternoon confirmation of 
the increased enemy artillery fire was obtained when the vicinity of 
Battalion Headquarters, in Zouave Valley, was heavily shelled with 
whizz-bangs and 5.9 s, while at the same time the front and support 
trenches were bombarded by a choice assortment of Minenwerfers 
and rifle grenades. After about an hour, in the course of which 
several trenches and the passage way to the Signal Station were 
blown in, the bombardment died down. On the following day, at 
the same hour, the enemy repeated this bombardment in a modified 
form. The Signal Station was again unfortunate and all the repairs 
that had been laboriously effected during the night were completely 
undone. In the evening the enemy s machine guns were active, 
while his artillery put over a few bursts of shrapnel in the neighbour 
hood of Souchez Dump, neither of these measures meeting with any 
particular success. 

Brisk shelling continued on the 19th of the month, while at 
night, inspired perhaps by hard frost and snow which reminded them 
of far off Canada, patrols of the 13th were unusually active. At 
3 p.m. on the 20th, the Canadian Artillery, as if to remind the Hun 
that he had no monopoly on the hour, opened a heavy bombardment 

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THE WINTER OF 1916-1917 

to the right of the Highlanders front, on an area known as Broad- 
marsh Crater. Somewhat later this fire was shifted a little and 
the whole enemy territory to the right of the Brigade front given 
a lusty drubbing. 

At about 9 o clock that same night a flare set off by someone 
in the front line revealed two individuals prowling about in The 
Highlanders wire. Challenged by the men in a small crater post, 
to make sure they were not members of a wiring party known to 
be out, these individuals replied in German, whereupon the sentries 
in the crater opened fire. One man was hit, while the other ran 
to a point where he was captured unwounded. The wounded man, 
meanwhile, conveyed to the corporal in charge of the crater his 
desire to surrender, so both prisoners were brought to Battalion 
Headquarters. No German interpreter was available and the 
prisoners spoke neither English nor French, nevertheless it was 
discovered that they belonged to the 17th Bavarian Landwehr, a 
unit which had taken over the German front at 8 o clock on the 
previous night. 

Considering the rather severe bombardments that took place 
during this tour, the Highlanders casualties were by no means 
heavy. Lieut. H. B. Hebron was wounded and four other ranks 
killed, while three other ranks were wounded, a total of eight in all. 

Following the completion of this tour, the 13th Battalion moved 
back to Cambligneul, whence, on the following day, December 22nd, 
the 3rd Brigade marched out to Corps Reserve, the Royal High 
landers taking up quarters in Ruitz, a small village close to the 
mining town of Bruay. As it was understood that the Battalion 
was to remain for some time in these billets, the men proceeded to 
make themselves as comfortable as possible, turning their attention 
almost immediately to preparations for the Christmas and New 
Year s holidays. As a matter of fact Christmas was not a holiday 
in the strict sense of the word, as a stiff routine of training was 
carried out from 6.45 a.m. until 4 p.m. All who desired, however, 
were privileged to attend the celebration of Holy Communion at 
8.30 a.m., while in the evening, turkey, a tot of rum and a generous 
issue of beer proved that someone had not forgotten what kind of 
fare the day was expected to bring. 

In contrast to Christmas, New Year s Day was proclaimed a total 
holiday and fitting celebrations began on New Year s Eve. Dinner 
for the officers was prepared in the village school house and Capt. 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

W. S. M. MacTier and Lieut. A. R. Gibson, president and vice- 
president of the Mess respectively, were instructed to see to it that 
nothing was lacking to make the dinner a memorable one. All who 
were present will admit that these instructions were faithfully carried 
out. On arrival the officers found a long- table, set in approved 
style and gleaming- with a variety of cutlery and assorted glasses 
that hinted most pleasingly of the gastronomic and bacchanalian 
pleasures in store. 

Following the toast to the King, which was drunk with tradi 
tional ceremony, and the toast to the fallen, which was honoured in 
silence, the diners gave themselves over to an unforgettable evening 
of merriment and song. Sharp at midnight the haggis was brought 
in, accompanied by the pipers, and immediately afterwards Lieut. - 
Col. McCuaig, escorted by several officers, made a round of visits 
to convey greetings and good wishes to the men. Returning to the 
school house, this group rejoined the party who were drinking a 
toast to the confusion of the Hun. As an appropriate accompani 
ment the popular song "Another Little Drink" had been altered for 
the occasion and was being rendered : 

"Another little scrap 
And another little scrap 
And another little scrap 
Wouldn t do us any harm !" 

This expressed the spirit of the Regiment as it celebrated its third 
New Year away from home. 

II 

For nearly three weeks after New Year the Royal Highlanders 
remained at Ruitz, the companies training rigorously and the officers, 
in addition to taking part in the training, attending a series of lec 
tures on such varied subjects as, "Great Britain s Part in the War/ 
"Courts Martial," "Co-operation with the Engineers" and "Engineer 
and Pioneer Services." 

During all this time the weather remained clear and cold, the 
frozen ground providing ideal footing for the scores of drills, prac 
tices and parades. On January 8th the following announcement 
was received with satisfaction by all ranks of the Battalion: 

"The General Officer Commanding has much pleasure in publish 
ing the following honours : 

The Distinguished Service Order Lieut-Col. G. E. McCuaig, 

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THE WINTER OF 1916-1917 

Officer Commanding, the 13th Canadian Battalion, Royal High 
landers of Canada. 

The Distinguished Conduct Medal Transport Sergeant W. 
Blyth, 13th Canadian Battalion, the Royal Highlanders of Canada. 

On January 20th the period of training at Ruitz came to an end 
and the 3rd Canadian Brigade relieved the 2nd Canadian Brigade in 
the left Calonne Sector, the 13th Battalion occupying reserve billets 
at Bully Grenay. In many ways this new sector was one of the 
most attractive on the Western Front. Since the early days of the 
war it had seen little fighting, a fact to which the almost undamaged 
back country bore striking testimony. Bully Grenay, where the 
Battalion was in Brigade Reserve, was within a couple of miles of 
the front line, in spite of which many houses were still standing, 
while the civilians went about their daily affairs, almost as if nothing 
unusual were happening. As a precaution against the unexpected, 
however, troops wore steel helmets and box respirators at all times. 

In this town the 13th Battalion spent four agreeable and com 
paratively uneventful days. Being so close to the actual front, 
reveille and other bugle calls were not sounded, as it had been ar 
ranged with- the civilian population that the sounding of a bugle 
would convey a warning of enemy gas. Probably the chief event 
of this short period occurred on January 23rd, when the Battalion 
paraded in a field adjoining the town for inspection by the Briga 
dier. This inspection was progressing smoothly, when all of a 
sudden a German aeroplane appeared overhead and seemed to take 
a deep interest in what was going on. Judging that a signal from 
the plane might bring on heavy shelling, the Brigadier cancelled the 
inspection and ordered the men to disperse. 

On the morning of January 25th, the 13th Battalion moved up 
and took over front line trenches, No. 1 Coy., or "A" Coy., accord 
ing to the system of naming the companies adopted at this time, 
occupying the position from the Double Grassier to Treize Alley 
and "B" Coy. that from Treize Alley to Trench 238. The other 
companies were in support at Maroc. 

This front had certain topographical peculiarities, chief among 
these being the Double Grassier, a huge slag heap, about 30 feet 
high, which ran at right angles to the front line. The flat top of 
the Grassier was about 20 feet wide, and here both sides had estab 
lished posts, so close together that a button could easily be tossed 
across the No Man s Land that intervened. Elsewhere along the 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

front, which was almost half a mile in length, the distance between 
the two lines of trenches varied from an extreme of about 500 yards 
to a minimum of little more than 30 yards. 

As the weather was sharp and frosty during the five days 
that the Highlanders occupied this area, conditions were by no 
means unpleasant. The 14th Battalion, on handing over to the 
13th, informed the latter that the methodical Hun shelled a certain 
section of trench at exactly 4 o clock every afternoon. Having en 
countered these extraordinarily mechanical tactics once or twice 
before, the 13th accepted the tip with gratitude and arranged that 
this particular bit of trench should be evacuated several minutes 
before the hour. Prompt to the moment the old Hun would open 
up, bang off a certain number of rounds and then settle down to 
finish his afternoon s nap. For the remainder of the twenty-four 
hours this particular section of trench was about as safe as a front 
line trench can be. 

Half way through this five day tour the companies in the line 
and those in reserve exchanged places, so that on the 30th, when 
the Battalion was relieved and proceeded to Calonne, all had shared 
equally in whatever advantages, or disadvantages, the front and 
reserve positions offered. Casualties numbered six, 1 killed and 5 
wounded. 

At Calonne, where the Battalion was in reserve, the situation 
was most unusual, as the front line actually ran through one end 
of the town. In consequence of this, movement by day was danger 
ous, while at night streams of machine gun bullets sweeping through 
the streets at irregular intervals meant that safe progress was more 
a matter of good luck than good management. Good management, 
however, did enter into it, as the Royal Highlanders attended to a 
variety of duties during their stay in the town and provided numer 
ous working parties at night, all these, by using reasonable pre 
caution, coming and going without incurring losses. 

On February 5th the 13th Battalion again took over the line at 
the Double Grassier, this time for a six day tour. As on the former 
occasion, the companies relieved one another half way through the 
tour, which was again comparatively uneventful. The cold weather 
caused some difficulty by freezing the majority of the water tanks 
in the district and the Germans aroused a little interest by projecting 
several phosphorous bombs into No Man s Land. Dense clouds of 
smoke from these drifted back over the enemy s trenches, where- 

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THE WINTER OF 1916-1917 

upon the Highlanders, on the chance that this might screen a work 
ing party, treated the area to a few bursts of machine gun and rifle 
fire. Apart from these incidents, the tour was chiefly distinguished 
by the fact that for the first time in its history the Battalion came 
out of the line without having incurred a single casualty. 

For the next six days the Royal Highlanders occupied reserve 
billets in Bully Grenay, the companies drilling and devoting a good 
deal of time to the training of their "specialists," i.e. bombers, 
snipers and so on. Pay and bathing parades were also held during 
this period, while working parties at night put in good work on the 
reserve line of trenches. 

On February 17th the Battalion again took over the Double 
Grassier and Treize Alley front. On the following day the weather 
turned mild and the remainder of the tour became a nightmare of 
mud. Hard frozen parapets simply disintegrated and trench floors, 
solid as rock, changed in a few hours to glue-like man-traps with 
no bottom. 

In spite of these unpleasant conditions, the Highlanders patrols 
went out nightly and carefully noted where enemy working parties 
were employed and, in so far as possible, what they were doing. 
The patrols were really excellent and brought in a variety of 
interesting and valuable information. On the 21st one of the 
Highlanders sentries was picked off by an enemy sniper. No 
idea could be gained as to where this sniper had fired from, but 
later in the day the battalion on the left reported that their 
snipers had seen him and that he had paid the penalty. In addition 
to the loss of the sentry, the Battalion, during the course of the 
tour, had a total of 5 men wounded. 

At night on February 22nd, when the 14th Canadian Battalion 
relieved, orders were issued that the 13th, in retiring to Calonne, 
should proceed overland rather than by way of the flooded com 
munication trenches, which were in such condition that the passage 
of a battalion through them would likely have caused them to 
collapse. By having troops proceed overland for a time, the com 
munication trenches, such as they were, were preserved against any 
emergency. The overland route, however, proved to be in almost 
as bad condition as the trenches. One man actually had his boots 
pulled off his feet, while progress was so slow that several strag 
glers did not reach the billets till eight o clock on the following 
morning. 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Strenuous working parties were a feature of the next six days, 
these numbering in strength from 250 to 500 men. Several parties 
carried material for the 255th Tunnelling Company very exhaust 
ing work under such weather conditions while others were em 
ployed in filling sandbags, wiring reserve trenches, carrying for the 
Trench Mortar Battery and cleaning up the district. On the first 
day in billets the area received a brisk shelling, one man, while 
standing in the doorway of his temporary home, being struck in 
the face by shrapnel and dying soon afterwards. 

The chief incident of the tour occurred on the night of March 
1st, when the 14th and 15th Battalions, which the 13th was sup 
porting, raided the enemy lines, bombed some dugouts and captured 
several prisoners. Although this successful little operation did not 
directly concern the Royal Highlanders, officers of the 13th watched 
proceedings with the greatest interest, while the whole Battalion, 
though not "standing to," was on the alert in case of unforseen 
developments. Nothing unexpected occurred, however, and the 
13th was not called upon. As a matter of fact the Battalion did 
not again enter the front line in this particular area. Spring had 
come and with it a call for the Highlanders services at another 
part of the line. 



[ 156 ] 



CHAPTER XII 

Vimy Ridge 

England, our mother, we, thy sons, are young; 
Our exultation this day cannot be 
Bounded as thine; 

Though henceforth we shall lift a higher head 
Because of Vimy and its glorious dead. 

ALFRED GORDON. 
I 

ON March 2nd the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Can 
ada, left Calonne and moved to Bully Grenay. Here the 
night was spent and in the morning the Battalion proceeded 
to Ruitz, a town which aroused memories of Christmas turkey and 
New Year s haggis, as well as of drills, parades and practices in 
numerable. On this occasion the Highlanders stay was brief, the 
Battalion parading at 9.20 on the morning of the 4th and marching 
to Bois des Alleux, via Maisnil-les-Ruitz, Ranchicourt and Camblain 
TAbbe, through hilly country and over a road, for at least part 
of the way, which had been a military highway ever since Caesar 
built it to assist his campaigns in Gaul. 

The attractive scenery and military traditions of the country, 
however, were not of such vital interest to the Highlanders as 
the fact that all along the route, and particularly during its latter 
stages, evidence accumulated that on this front something was being 
planned. Vast stores of shells were piled on both sides of the road ; 
several monster guns were seen, resting till night should enable 
them to resume their secret progress towards the front; smaller 
guns were also much in evidence, while motor lorries, laden with 
all sorts of supplies, chug-chugged forward, and, having deposited 
their burdens, broke their metaphorical necks in an effort to speed 
back for more. None of the significance attaching to these prepara 
tions was lost on the veterans of the 13th. Something was un 
doubtedly being prepared, but just what no one could tell, though 
everything indicated a British offensive on a large scale. Confirma- 

[157] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

tion of this came when the Battalion, swinging steadily along, was 
confronted with a huge wire "cage," 1 whose only purpose could be 
to hold prisoners. This particular bit of preparation tickled the 
men s fancy tremendously. When and where the great attack was 
to take place they did not know and did not greatly care. That it 
was to be a success, however, they never doubted. This spirit of 
confidence permeated the whole Canadian Corps and grew, rather 
than diminished, as the weeks passed and the time for the battle 
approached. That vast preparations, such as they witnessed daily, 
could not be entirely concealed from the Hun, did not seem to lower 
the men s estimation of the chances of success, nor did the news 
that the attack was to be against the deadly Vimy Ridge, which had 
held firm in 1915 against French troops of the old first line regi 
ments, troops whose courage was little short of sublime and whose 
bones still whitened the fields in the neighbourhood of Souchez 
and Neuville St. Vaast. Some indication of this perfect confidence 
is reflected in the opening paragraph of the operation order issued 
to the Royal Highlanders on April 4th, which states quite simply, 
"In conjunction with the Third Army, the Canadian Corps will 
take Vimy Ridge;" this in spite of the German boast that Vimy 
Ridge could not be taken by direct assault by any troops on earth. 

Meanwhile, at about 4 o clock on the afternoon of March 4th, 
the 13th reached billets at Bois des Alleux, about a mile and a 
half from the town of Mont. St. Eloy. Here two uneventful days 
were spent, and on the night of the 6th the Battalion moved up to 
relieve the 20th Canadian Battalion in Brigade support. The march 
up on this occasion was most unpleasant, as the roads, or what was 
left of them, were packed with traffic and the troops on foot were 
frequently forced off the highway into the muddy ditches at the 
sides. Even here they did not escape the penalty which is the 
invariable lot of pedestrians ini motor traffic. As one officer rather 
feelingly put it : "The gilded youth of the army, or in other words, 
the Staff Officers, seemingly able to travel in motor cars at any 
speed, pursued their favourite occupation of tearing by and drench 
ing the poor bloody infantry with flying mud." In return for 
this delicate attention the "foot sloggers" cursed the occupants of the 
cars with expressive and highly imaginative profanity. 

On arriving at their destination, the companies of the 13th took 
over a position at Maison Blanche, not far from Neuville St. Vaast. 
This district was distinctly dreary. As previously mentioned it 

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VIMY RIDGE 

had been the scene of bitter fighting by the French earlier in the 
war. Hundreds of the gallant poilus had given their lives and 
been hastily buried in shallow graves dug in the white, chalky soil. 
Rain had washed the covering off these graves and in all directions 
were now visible the faded red breeches and blue tunics in which 
these splendid troops had met their end. 

Six days were spent at Maison Blanche, the troops busily em 
ployed on working parties. Some of these assisted the 185th Tun 
nelling Company, others toiled at burying cables, while still others, 
and these possibly the most numerous, devoted their attentions to 
the maintenance of vital communication trenches, of which some 
were completely flooded and all more or less in danger of collapse. 

All during this tour, whenever the weather was fine, the troops 
on the ground were thrilled by the vigorous fight being waged for 
control of the air. The enemy realized that a climax was approach 
ing in this area and bent every effort to discover details of the blow 
being prepared. Similarly, the Royal Flying Corps guarded the 
secret preparations with all the strength it could muster, young 
pilots giving their lives gladly, rather than have Hun machines 
secure information which might nullify all the work of making 
ready and all the valour of the troops destined to attack. Realizing 
this, the men of the 13th watched the aerial combats with deep 
concern, groaning in spirit when a British plane was worsted, but 
cheered immensely by the fact that, even when this occurred, ven 
geance frequently overtook the Hun before he could turn his initial 
victory to practical account. 

Following the six days at Maison Blanche, the Battalion moved 
up on March 12th and relieved the Canadian Scottish (16th Bat 
talion) in trenches opposite the Argyll and Paris groups of mine 
craters, "A" and "D" Companies occupying the left and right 
front, with "C" and "B" in left and right support. This position 
was held by the 13th for the regulation six days, the tour proving 
by no means uneventful. At 4 o clock on the morning of the 13th 
the enemy commenced a heavy bombardment with 5.9 s, 4.1 s and 
.77 s, smashing in several trenches on the left front, badly damaging 
Douai Communication Trench and severing connection between the 
supporting companies and the front line. With the first crash of 
the barrage, Capt. W. S. M. MacTier, of "C" Coy., endeavoured to 
get through by telephone to Battalion Headquarters and the com 
panies in the front line, only to find that his wires were cut. Even- 

[159] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

tually, however, he got in touch with Major I. M. R. Sinclair, of 
"A" Coy. and through him with Major N. M. MacLean, of "D" 
Coy., both of whom reported that they did not require immediate 
assistance, but that the situation was not yet clear. What actually 
developed was an attempted enemy raid. Ten minutes after fire 
had opened a party of twelve Germans approached a sap running 
into No. 4 of the Paris group of craters. Bombs were exchanged 
between this party and the Canadian post in the crater and one of 
the Highlanders was killed. 

Lieut. Christie, who was in command at this spot, thereupon 
withdrew his men from the sap and was in the act of setting up a 
Lewis gun at its base, when the man carrying the gun slipped and 
fell into a water filled trench. Christie, however, rescued the gun 
and opened fire, one of the enemy being seen to fall and the re 
mainder effecting a retreat, leaving a number of stick bombs behind 
them. 

Meanwhile, in reply to the enemy barrage, the Canadian artillery 
opened on the Hum trenches, smashing them in badly and, judging 
from shouts, whistles and confused noises, causing a number of 
casualties. Fire on both sides continued till 4.45 a.m., when the 
Germans set off a rocket which, soaring up, divided into two green 
lights and was apparently a signal to their artillery that the show, 
from their point of view, was over. 

Apart from this raid and the activity of the Canadian artillery 
during the days that followed, the chief feature of the tour was 
provided by the air pilots, who continued their ceaseless fight for 
supremacy. One German plane with red wings and body was con 
spicuous and rather disconcertingly successful. It seems probable, 
though by no means certain, that this plane was piloted by Captain 
Baron von Richthofen, the German ace, who was a thorn in the side 
of the Allied Air Forces for a long time and who was shot down 
by a Canadian pilot some months later. 

By March 18th, when the tour in the front line terminated, 
three men of the 13th had been killed and ten wounded. In ad 
dition to these, Major W. E. Macfarlane, M.C. had received his 
third wound of the war, but on this occasion his injury was not 
serious and did not keep him away from duty for long. 

When the Royal Highlanders had handed over the front line 
to the 15th Battalion, they retired to familiar billets at Bois des 
Alleux and remained in this position for the next ten days, training, 

[160] 



VIMY RIDGE 

drilling, checking deficiencies and providing night working parties 
to carry ammunition from Maison Blanche to the front line. Dur 
ing this period Capt. K. S. Mathewson, who had recovered from his 
wounds, returned to duty with the Battalion. On March 24th the 
enemy shelled the town of Mont St. Eloy and the neighbouring 
camps, causing- losses to personnel and destroying a number of 
horses. This shelling was repeated on the 25th and came so close 
to the Bois des Alleux Huts that Lieut-Col. McCuaig ordered the 
men to scatter. In spite of this precaution, two men were killed, 
but because of it, heavier losses were undoubtedly avoided. 

During the ten days at Bois des Alleux, one party, composed of 
Major I. M. R. Sinclair, Lieut. G. H. Hogarth, Lieut. W. D. C. 
Christie and sixty-seven other ranks, took no part in the general 
training, but devoted themselves to preparations for a raid on the 
enemy s trenches. This raid was planned for the night of March 
28th and the spot chosen for the venture was just behind Nos. 1, 
2 and 3 of the Paris group of mine craters. The Canadian front 
in this area was held by the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regi 
ment, which was to conduct a simultaneous raid at a different spot. 

On the morning of the 28th the 13th Battalion left Bois des 
Alleux and proceeded to Estree-Cauchie, the raiding party separ 
ating from the main body and moving up to Brigade H.Q. Here the 
day was spent in putting last touches to the preparations and 
in waiting for the hour to go over. Late at night the party moved 
up and was in readiness when the artillery opened fire, shortly be 
fore dawn. The barrage was perfect and the raiders got through 
the enemy wire with little difficulty. Leaping into the German front 
trench and making their way into the support line, the Highlanders 
quickly disposed of such opposition as was encountered and blew up 
several dugouts with large tubes of explosives brought over for the 
purpose. Everything went well and all objectives had been attained 
when, at the end of fifteen minutes, the recall signal was set off. 
A number of the enemy had been accounted for, several dugouts 
had been blown up, identifications had been secured and the High 
landers themselves had escaped with a casualty list of two men 
wounded, this including an injury to Lieut. Hogarth which did not 
compel him to leave duty. For their work in this well executed 
little operation, Major Sinclair and his men were warmly com 
mended by General Currie. 

[ 161 ] 
11 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

II 

From March 28th until April 5th the 13th Battalion remained at 
Estree-Cauchie, carrying out a definite programme of training in 
preparation for the assault on Vimy Ridge. As a rule the greatest 
secrecy was maintained in these matters, but on this occasion the 
opposite policy was adopted and all ranks were informed of the 
exact task that lay before them. Only the day and hour of the 
attack were unknown. 

It is probable that in the history of war up to this time no 
troops ever rehearsed their parts as thoroughly as those who were 
about to take part in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. At Estree-Cauchie 
the 13th Battalion found a whole area laid out to resemble the 
German positions in every particular that was possible. Tapes 
represented the enemy trenches and communication trenches, sign 
posts showed the whereabouts of dugouts and unit headquarters, 
while all obstacles such as wire and ditches were clearly indicated. 
Over this area the men advanced again and again, carrying full 
battle equipment and familiarizing themselves with every detail of 
the terrain. On several occasions the whole 3rd Brigade worked 
over the ground, so that each battalion became aware, not only of 
what its own part was to be, but of the part to be taken by the 
units with which it would be associated. In addition to the practices 
over the taped-out area in the open, a large coloured map of the 
German positions was prepared at Battalion Headquarters and, 
using this to illustrate their remarks, Lieut.-Col. McCuaig and 
Major Perry lectured to various groups and parties until it seemed 
that every contingency had been foreseen and provision made to 
cope with it. 

While the various brigades and battalions were engaged in 
this training, the country for miles around was the scene of endless 
activity of a different nature, but all working towards the same 
end. Motor lorries swarmed on all roads and the great munition 
dumps beside the highways grew and grew until they reached 
amazing proportions. Never in their wildest dreams had the troops 
imagined such enormous supplies of shells. Brother Boche, it 
appeared, was in for a bad time and the veterans of "the days of 
bitter fear," when the Germans had plenty of shells and the British 
daily ration was about three rounds a gun, smiled with grim satisfac 
tion at the prospect. Indeed, the bad time for the Boche had actually 

[162] 



VIMY RIDGE 

begun, for already the great guns were shelling his positions and 
lines of communication, tuning up, as it were, for the roar of 
artillery that would herald the actual assault. 

The tremendous traffic required by these preparations tore up 
the roads and made maintenance work urgent in the extreme. On 
one occasion an Engineer officer of the First Army Staff came to 
Battalion Headquarters and requested that a fatigue of 50 men be 
detailed to lay half-round logs over a stretch of road that had be 
come well nigh impassable. He stressed the point that the work 
was urgent, so Lieut-Col. McCuaig ordered out a party of 200 
men and instructed them to "clean up the job" without delay. 
Acting on these orders, the party worked like the proverbial beavers 
and had the road open for through traffic in a surprisingly short 
time, much to the delight of the Chief Engineer and the Army 
Commander, General Home, both of whom dropped in on the 
following day to express satisfaction. 

On April 4th Lieut. C. D. Craig, acting in his capacity as Ad 
jutant, issued, in its amended and final form, the operation order 
covering the Battalion s part in the coming battle. Much to the 
disappointment of the 13th, this confirmed the announcement that 
the Battalion was not to form part of the first wave of the attack, 
but was to advance in close support, consolidating the positions 
gained, ready to render assistance should this be required and per 
forming a variety of necessary services. Some idea of these ser 
vices can be gained from the summary of the operation order which 
follows : 

(1) In conjunction with the Third Army, the Canadian Corps 
will take the Vimy Ridge and form a defensive flank. 

The 1st Canadian Division will capture the high ground S. and 
S.E. of Thelus. 

The 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade will take the following: 

(a) First Objective The Black Line, or Zwolfer Weg. 

(&) Second Objective The Red Line, or Swischen Stellung. 

The 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade will attack on the right and 
the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade on the left. 

(2) "B" and "D" Companies will consolidate the Black Line. 

(3) Battle Formation: The Battalion will attack on a two 
company front, each company on a two platoon front, with a half 
company, 1 Colt gun and 4 Lewis guns in support. 

[163] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Frontages: Company 150 yards. 

Platoon - 75 yards. 
Distances: 15 yards between lines of waves. 

25 yards between waves. 

(4) Plan of Attack: The Battalion will go forward at zero 
hour, as close to the last wave of the 14th Battalion as possible until 
No Man s Land has been crossed. It will then move at a slow rate 
until there is an interval of 150 yards between the leading wave of 
the 13th and the rear wave of the 14th Battalion. 

The role of the Battaliom is to give additional power to any one 
of the attacking battalions should the strength of any of the latter 
be insufficient to attain its objectives. 

The Battalion will not be merged into the attack, unless requested 
by one of the attacking battalions. 

The Battalion will not go through to the Black Line until the 
attacking battalions resume their advance to the Red Line at zero 
plus 75, and in the meantime will occupy the Eisner Kreuz Weg. 

When the advance to the Red Line is resumed, the Battalion 
will move up to the Black Line, "B" and "D" Companies extending 
to the right and left to cover the Brigade frontage. This line will 
be consolidated and the Battalion will be prepared to send forward 
reinforcing platoons if necessary. 

During the pause at Eisner Kreuz Weg "B" Coy. will hold 
three platoons in hand, ready to move forward to the Red Line 
if required, i.e. one platoon as a first reinforcement to each attack 
ing battalion. 

The Colt gun and four Lewis guns will remain near the advanced 
Battalion Headquarters as a reserve. 

After the Red Line has been consolidated, the 14th Battalion 
will be withdrawn from this Line, and the 13th and 14th will then 
become Divisional Reserve. 

(5) Barrages:-- At zero plus 35 minutes the barrage will lift 

off the Black Line. 

From zero plus 35 minutes to zero plus 38 minutes, it will stand 
100 yards East of the Black Line. 

From zero plus 38 minutes to zero plus 75 minutes, it will form 
a standing barrage 200 yards East of the Black Line. 

During the pause from zero plus 35 to zero plus 75, units will 
be sorted out, casualties among officers and N.C.O. s replaced, and 

[164] 



VIMY RIDGE 

any new commanders made known to their command; liaison will 
be effected with units on the flanks and communication opened up 
with Battalion and Brigade H.Q s. 

(6) The Battalion will move from Bois des Alleux huts on Y/Z 
night, under orders to be issued later. 

(7) Communication Trenches : 
In Claudot, Bentata. 
Out Paris, Douai, Sapper. 

(8) Subways: The Bentata Subway runs from Claudot 
Avenue to the front line, between Roger and Claudot Trenches. 
This will be used as a covered route during bombardments previous 
to zero hour and after zero hour for runners. At the top and bot 
tom of each entrance are notice boards showing to whom the entrance 
is allotted, and where each entrance or exit leads to. 

(9) Inter-Communication and Intelligence: The Battalion 
O.P. will be with the 14th Battalion O.P. off Bentata. Two run 
ners will be stationed there on Zero Day. They will reconnoitre it 
on Y. Day. 

The O.P. will watch the progress of the advance and will keep 
the Brigade Report Centre in touch with the situation by means of 
telephone or runner. Forward of this station communication will 
be maintained by visual signalling, carrier pigeons, runners and 
Aeroplane Contact Patrols. The Intelligence Officer with his Sec 
tion, six signallers and four runners, carrying signal fans, ground 
sheet, carrier pigeons and two signalling lamps, will follow in the 
rear of the last wave and make for a dugout in Eisner Kreuz Weg. 
It will be the duty of the Intelligence Officer to collect and com 
municate all messages received from his observers and the company 
officers to Battalion Headquarters. This forward report centre 
will plant a red and blue flag. 

The first thing to be done on arrival at the forward report centre 
will be to call up the Brigade O.P. by visual, and report the progress 
to this point, using the B.A.B. Code. 

It must be impressed on all ranks that communication with the 
contact aeroplane is of the utmost importance. 

All runners will move in pairs. 

All messages must be numbered, bear the time, date and place, 
and be written on the back of maps which have been struck off 

[165] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

and which show the German trenches. At the time of writing each 
message the officer will chalk in his position on the sketch. These 
will be issued as follows: 

To Company Commanders 12. 

To Platoon Commanders - 8. 

Each Company Commander will detail two men with sandbags, 
into which all papers found will be placed and forwarded by runner 
to Brigade H.Q. 

(10) Liaison : Capt. F. S. Mathewson will report to Brigade 
H.Q. for liaison duty. 

(11) Carrying Parties: The Relay System: 

A. Line Dumps Battalion Dumps. 

B. Line Dumps Lille-Arras Road. 

C. Line Dumps Red Objective. 

"A" Coy. and two platoons of "C" Coy., less Lewis guns, will 
be assembled in the support line and Rocade. Two platoons will 
be detailed to carry for each of the three attacking battalions. These 
parties will work under the Brigade Grenade Officer. As soon as 
the situation permits, these parties will commence to carry forward 
from the A. Line Dumps to the B. Line Dumps. They will then 
return to the Brigade Dump and carry forward the material to the 
B. Line Dumps. As soon as the Red Line is captured, "C Coy. 
will detail one half of a platoon for each of the attacking battalions 
and carry the material forward from the B. Line Dumps to the C. 
Line Dumps. All carrying parties will report to the Battalion in 
the Black Line as soon as they have finished their work. 

(12) Escorts for prisoners will be provided in the proportion 
of 15%. Escorts should, as far as possible, consist of slightly 
wounded men. Prisoners and escorts will march overland and not 
by communication trenches. 

(13) The wounded will be taken to the Battalion Aid Posts. 

(14) All ranks must have their water bottles filled prior to the 
attack. There are water taps at (map locations given). 

(15) Equipment : The haversack will be carried on the back. 
Both the Box Respirator and Tube Helmet will be carried. 

Ammunition 120 rounds, except for bombers, signallers, scouts, 
runners and Lewis gunners, who will carry 50 rounds. 

Mills Grenades 2, one in each top pocket. These will 
lected in dumps in the Black Line. 

[166] 



VIMY RIDGE 

Ground Flares 2, one in each bottom pocket. These will be 
collected in dumps in the Black Line. 

Sandbags 5, carried across the back. 

Tools 4 picks and 12 shovels per platoon. 

The six carrying platoons will not carry Mills grenades, ground 
flares, sandbags or tools. 

(16) Salvage: All arms and equipment found in the area be 
tween the Eisner Kreuz Weg and Old German Front Line will be 
dumped at junction of Claudot and Eentata with old British Front 
Line. For this purpose parties of 10 other ranks each from "B" 
and "D" Companies and one officer from "D" Coy. to take charge 
will be detailed. These parties will work back from Eisner Kreuz 
Weg. 

(17) The 13th Battalion is responsible for the burial of all dead 
between Eisner Kreuz Weg and the Old British Front Line. Lieut. 
J. L. Atkinson is detailed to supervise the clearing of the battlefield 
in the above area. He will report at Battalion Headquarters before 
dawn and will work in conjunction with, and under the orders of, 
the Divisional Burial Officer. 

Further orders were issued at various times before the attack, 
but as these did not materially alter the Battalion s task, it is un 
necessary to quote them here, the original (amended) order giving a 
comprehensive idea of the duties to be performed by the 13th in its 
capacity as Brigade Support Battalion. 

At 4 p.m. on April 5th the Royal Highlanders left the training 
area at Estree-Cauchie and moved forward to the huts in the Bois 
des Alleux. Owing to the tremendous amount of traffic on the 
roads, progress on this occasion was slow, the troops being forced 
to advance in single file and frequently to take the ditch to allow 
the hurrying motor lorries free passage. 

During the two days that the Battalion remained in the Bois 
des Alleux all ranks were extremely busy with arrangements for the 
engagement that was now imminent. Momentary interest in the 
outside world was aroused by the announcement that the United 
States had declared war on Germany. Inasmuch as this fact was 
likely to have little effect on the coming battle, however, such inter 
est as the men displayed was more or less academic and soon the 
news was almost forgotten in the rush of seemingly more important 
matters connected with the business immediately in hand. 

[167] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

For the Vimy Battle the 13th Battalion was divided into two 
sections, the main body, which consisted of 25 officers and 760 other 
ranks, under Lieut.-Col. G. E. McCuaig, D.S.O., carrying out the 
operations mentioned above, while a smaller body, totalling 17 of 
ficers and 264 other ranks, under command of Major K. M. Perry, 
D.S.O., remained at Bois des Alleux, ready to reinforce should the 
forward section be overtaken by some unforseen disaster. As -well 
as being up to strength, the Battalion was fortunate at this time 
in having on its roster a fine body of men, both physically and in 
every other way, while the officers were experienced for the most 
part, many of them having rejoined after recovering from wounds 
received during the previous year. The companies were to be led 
into action by Major I. M. R. Sinclair, Capt. W. S. M. MacTier, 
Capt. A. R. Gibson and Major N. M. MacLean. 

On April 6th stripes of different colours were painted on the 
men s haversacks, so that the waves of the attack could be recognized 
at a glance and proper distances maintained. Everyone was pleased 
with this arrangement, except the men of the third wave, whose 
distinguishing stripe was yellow. Only repeated assurance that the 
colour was fortuitously chosen and was in no way a reflection on 
their personal courage, satisfied the men of the yellow wave and 
enabled them to stand the jibes of the 1st and 2nd waves, whose 
respective stripes were red and green. 

Last touches were put to the preparations on April 8th and at 
5.45 p.m. the Battalion paraded ready to move into the line. Before 
the order to march was given Lieut.-Col. McCuaig inspected the 
men and immediately afterwards ranks were broken to form a semi 
circle around the padre, Capt. E. E. Graham, who held a short ser^ 
vice of intercession for the success of the undertaking. Following 
this Lieut.-Col. McCuaig addressed the men in a soldierly speech 
which was received with a roar of cheers. Ranks were then re 
formed and the band struck up the tune of "Highland Laddie," the 
attacking section of the Battalion moving off amid cheers and 
shouted good wishes from those disappointed ones who were left 
behind. 

Ill 

Darkness was falling when the 13th marched off the parade 
ground at Bois des Alleux and started down the Arras road. In 
all directions troops were on the move and the scene was extra- 

[168] 



VIMY RIDGE 

ordinarily impressive, particularly as the machinery of concentration 
seemed to be running on well oiled wheels. In the gathering dusk 
battalions could be seen resting in sheltered spots near the road 
side and, as the Royal Highlanders passed along, they and the men 
of these units would exchange greetings and good wishes. "There 
go the 13th! Good old 13th!" would be met with "It s the Umpty- 
ninth! Good luck, Toronto!", or Winnipeg," or "Vancouver," or 
"Halifax," as the case might be. For the first time the four divi 
sions of the Canadian Corps were attacking side by side and the 
men were keyed up with excitement and anticipation of victory. 
As one officer recorded his impressions, "Never have I seen the 
fighting spirit of the troops more in evidence. You could tell be 
fore the show started what the outcome would be." 

As an evidence of the minute care that had gone into the prepara 
tion of this battle, it is of interest to note that at the point where the 
Royal Highlanders left the Arras Road to take an overland route, 
they found a series of luminous stakes which led them unhesitatingly 
to a spot in the communication trenches where guides were waiting 
to take them forward to the assembly positions, which had been 
carefully reconnoitred. 

So well had all plans been worked out in advance, that the Bat 
talion found itself in position shortly after midnight, or some five 
hours before "zero." This eliminated the confusion that is in 
evitable when troops must come forward, hurriedly distribute them 
selves in strange jumping off trenches and be ready to attack within 
a short space of time. The only drawback is that, should the enemy 
become aware of the concentration, he can bring his artillery into 
play and nullify the attack before it is even scheduled to begin. 

No disaster such as this overtook the 13th, although at one point 
"B" Coy., under Capt. MacTier, encountered an enemy barrage 
which threatened to prove serious. All during the delay caused by 
this shelling, the Regimental Chaplain, Capt. E. E. Graham, who 
was experiencing his first tour in the line, exhibited a fine disregard 
for his own safety, moving about and encouraging the men in a 
manner that won their respect and admiration. "D" Coy. also en 
countered some shelling on the way up, Lieut. Christie s platoon 
suffering one or two casualties, but, as in the case of "B" Coy., the 
delay was not serious. 

The night was cold and the company cooks had been sent for 
ward to the assembly position to have hot soup ready when the 
troops arrived. Unfortunately, the cooks did not share in the good 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

luck of the Battalion, several of them losing their lives from shell 
fire on the way up. The remainder pushed on and did the best 
they could, their courage on this occasion being much appreciated by 
those who got hot soup and almost equally by the still larger number 
for whom, owing to the casualties, they were unable to provide. 

During the wait before zero hour, Battalion Headquarters was 
established in one of the several tunnels specially built for the oc 
casion. These tunnels started at a point several hundred yards 
behind the front line and ran out into No Man s Land, the last 
few yards of earth being removed only a short time before the 
attack. The tunnels were electrically lighted and numerous cham 
bers off the main passages provided excellent assembly points for 
all sorts of special parties. 

The weather all this time was cold and dreary, but at 4 a.m. 
an issue of rum warmed the men up and reduced their discomfort. 
For a few minutes before zero the silence that reigned over the 
whole area was almost uncanny. Then a single gun, a little off 
schedule, opened up, followed in a few seconds by a crash of gun 
fire such as, with all their experience, the Canadian troops had never 
heard before. 

With the first thunder of the guns, which opened fire at 5.30 
a.m., the four Canadian Divisions and the British Divisions on the 
flank went over the top. So devastating was the rolling barrage and 
so completely were the German batteries smothered by the British 
and Canadian big guns, that the advance, in its early stages, met 
little opposition. 

Rain and snow were falling by this time and No Man s Land 
was a mass of shell holes and churned up soil. Following closely 
in the wake of the 14th Battalion, however, the men of the 13th 
pushed steadily forward. It was still fairly dark, but direction was 
not hard to maintain, for the German trenches were marked by the 
flashes of hundreds of bursting shells. 

As the barrage moved back, the waves of the 14th and 13th ad 
vanced, crossing the German front line trenches, which were almost 
completely obliterated. Here the 13th paused, in accordance with 
instructions, to allow the waves of the 14th to get well ahead. 
Continuing their advance toward the German support line a few 
minutes later, the Highlanders came under heavy machine gun fire, 
which caused numerous casualties. One of the first to fall was 
Capt. W. S. M. MacTier, commanding "B" Coy., whose thigh was 

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VIMY RIDGE 

badly shattered. This was MacTier s second appearance on the 
casualty list, he having suffered previously in the spring of 1915. 
His injury on this second occasion proved serious and incapacitated 
him for several years. Further to the right, Lieut. D. S. Grieve, 
a gallant officer, who had won his commission in June of the previous 
year, was struck and killed, while many N.C.O s. and men also 
fell. "B" Coy. was most unfortunate in this respect, losing 17 
N.C.O s. of whom nine were killed, among these being Sergt. T. 
Goodwin, an "original," who had rendered splendid service and who 
was regarded as one of the most efficient N.C.O s. in the Battalion. 
Even earlier than this Major N. M. MacLean, commanding "D" 
Coy., had suffered his second wound of the war. 

In spite of these casualties, the Battalion continued to advance 
most steadily, maintaining the pace laid down in orders and reaching 
the various objectives absolutely on time. Even at this early stage 
it could be seen that the attack was going well. No call for sup 
port came to the 13th from the three battalions forming the front 
waves, these reporting that they were maintaining their schedules 
and were not meeting with serious opposition. At many other 
points along the wide British and Canadian front the attack, in its 
early stages, swept forward with equally few casualties. On the 
extreme left, however, the 4th Canadian Division encountered stiff 
opposition from the moment the men left their trenches and else 
where, even at points where the first waves had but little trouble, 
fighting developed as the attack bit deeper and deeper into the 
German lines. 

By 7 a.m. the battalions of the 3rd Brigade had advanced over a 
mile and had reached the point where orders called for a halt to 
allow the 1st Brigade to pass through. Even before this time the 
Highlanders had begun the consolidation of the Black Line, while 
the platoons acting as carrying- parties were doing extremely well. 
By early afternoon these platoons, which had suffered less severely 
than expected, had brought forward all the material entrusted to 
them and had dumped it at the points selected on the Lille-Arras 
Road. 

Meanwhile, Battalion Headquarters had been established in a 
large German dugout, which rejoiced in the name of Neuberger 
Haus. Here the Herr Commandant had just celebrated his birth 
day, the walls being festooned with wreaths of evergreen, while en 
shrined amongst these was an ornate sign, "Zum Geburtstag." Soda 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

water bottles were much in evidence, but the only food that the 
curious Highlanders could discover consisted of some very filthy 
looking sausages and a large quantity of "kriegsbrot," which 
resembled saw-dust and which the Canadians found utterly 
unpalatable. 

All day the 13th remained in this position, the men busy with 
the thousand and one tasks that fell to their lot, while Battalion 
Headquarters and the Signalling and Intelligence Sections worked 
at top speed transmitting to Brigade the messages that 
arrived back from the front line. Owing to the failure of certain 
direct lines of communication, the 13th acted as a report and relay 
centre and managed at all times to get messages through without 
appreciable delay. 

By nightfall the attack had been pushed forward nearly three 
miles in all and had swept down the far side of Vimy Ridge to the 
railway running through Farbus Village. Elsewhere along the 
wide front things had gone equally well. The prisoners cages in 
the rear, which had so tickled the fancy of the Highlanders weeks 
before, were now filled to overflowing, while large numbers of 
enemy guns and a vast amount of material had passed into British 
and Canadian hands. 

In addition to the intrinsic and strategic value of what he had 
lost, the Hun s pride had received a nasty blow. He had boasted 
that no troops could take Vimy by frontal attack, but Vimy had been 
taken in spite of his boast and the wound rankled and smarted. 
Knowing all this, the Canadian Corps did not waste too much time 
in rejoicing over the victory, but set to work to prepare for the 
shrewd knocks that the indignant Hun would undoubtedly attempt 
to administer as soon as he recovered his second wind. 



NOTE: In addition to the casualties mentioned in the text Major 
I. M. R. Sinclair, commanding "A" Coy. and Capt. A. R. Gibson, 
commanding "C" Coy. were wounded during the Vimy engagement, 
as was Lieut. D. H. Burrows. This was Major Sinclair s third ap 
pearance on the casualty list. 



[172] 



CHAPTER XIII 

Thelus, Farbus, Arleux and Fresnoy 

Boom of thunder and lightning flash 
The torn earth rocks to the barrage crash; 
The bullets whine and the bullets sing 
From the mad machine-guns chattering; 
Black smoke rolling across the mud, 
Trenches plastered with flesh and blood. 

CROSBIE GARSTIN. 



DAWN on April 10th found the 13th Battalion at work im 
proving the Black Line, or Zwolfer Weg. Vimy Ridge by 
this time was a scene of great activity. The weather was 
atrocious, with a high wind and frequent snow falls, but these seemed 
only to spur the troops to work harder. Roads and light railways 
sprang up in all directions, while huts and shelters, growing as it. 
seemed by magic, changed the landscape from hour to hour. 

Burial and salvage parties were busy all this time and the clearing 
of the battlefield, so far as the area allotted to the 13th was con 
cerned, was completed during the day. Long before nightfall the 
Canadian big guns were creeping forward over roads that had not 
been in existence when the day dawned. For their assistance in 
building these roads several parties of the 13th received special 
commendation from the officers of the Artillery and Engineers. 

At 5 p.m. on the 10th, the Royal Highlanders moved back from 
Neuberger Haus to a point in the Old British Front Line, with 
Headquarters at Poste de Lille. Difficulty was experienced in find 
ing the dugouts that were to be used as billets owing to the damage 
done by shell fire during the attack. Such trenches as were left 
more or less intact were flooded with water and deep in mud, but 
even so the men were glad to get a chance to remove the heavy 
equipment which they had been carrying for two days and nights. 

At Poste de Lille the Battalion remained until April 13th. 
Technically the time was spent in resting; actually all ranks, in 
cluding the reserve section of the Battalion, which had come for- 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

ward from Bois des Alleux, were busy cleaning and repairing equip 
ment, salvaging material and preparing for the next tour in the line. 

All afternoon on the 13th the Battalion "stood to," ready to 
move, but orders did not arrive until nearly 9 p.m. As the com 
panies were moving off in obedience to these belated instructions, an 
unfortunate incident occurred when someone kicked a Mills bomb 
which lay concealed in the mud. This exploded and wounded nine 
or ten men, among these being Major K. M. Perry, D.S.O., who 
was wounded in the neck, Capt. G. R. Johnson, the attached Medical 
Officer, who was wounded in the leg, Lieut. H. H. Chanter, slightly 
wounded for the second time, the Signalling Sergeant, who was 
struck in the back and a Pioneer, who suffered injuries from which 
he died in hospital two days later. 

After the casualties of this accident had been attended to, the 
companies of the 13th marched off, via the Corduroy Road, to the 
Lens-Arras Road and thence overland, past the famous Nine Elms, 
to a support position in the Blue Line, south-east of the ruins of 
Thelus village and behind Farbus Wood. This move was carried 
out with the greatest difficulty, as all landmarks had been obliterated 
and in the pitch darkness of the night direction was hard to main 
tain. One company took the whole night to advance a distance of 
approximately two miles, arriving at its destination just at dawn. 

In the Blue Line the Battalion spent two uncomfortable days. 
Shelling on both sides was brisk and, although casualties were not 
heavy, there was scarcely a moment when the German shell fire 
was not distinctly threatening. Movement during the day was al 
most impossible, owing to enemy observation balloons, and for the 
same reason cooking was considered inadvisable. At night, how 
ever, when the ration parties came up, all ranks made up for lost 
time and thoroughly enjoyed the hot food and drink that the cooks 
provided. 

At dusk on April 15th the Battalion moved forward from sup 
port by platoons, to take over a section of the front line opposite 
Arleux. Moving down hill to the bottom of the Ridge, it seemed 
that the men must be in full view of the German lines and anxiety 
was felt, particularly when the enemy dropped a series of shells 
close enough to suggest that the platoons of the 13th were the 
target. Apparently this was not the case, or the Hun s shooting 
was bad, as the platoons reached the front line without serious losses. 

At this point the front line ran along the Sunken Road, near 

[174] 



THELUS, FARBUS, ARLEUX AND FRESNOY 

Willerval, and consisted of shallow pits providing a bare minimum 
of shelter. As the German artillery had the line of the road ranged 
to perfection, the next three days were extremely unpleasant and 
casualties mounted to a considerable total. 

On the first morning in the line, Lieut. P. E. Corbett took a 
patrol for several hundred yards along a shallow trench, which 
crossed No Man s Land, to determine if the enemy still occupied 
Arleux Loop. By exposing himself at well chosen spots and at 
judicious intervals, Lieut. Corbett drew enemy fire, which convinced 
him that the trench in question was strongly held. Bombs were 
exchanged with a party of Huns, who were encountered, but, so 
far as the Canadians were concerned, no damage was done and the 
party returned safely at about 8.30 a.m. 

Owing to the long carry for rations, the 13th left a detail for 
this purpose near Farbus Wood. Unaware that the approach to the 
front line was under observation, this detail, about 100 strong, ad 
vanced cheerfully towards the line in broad daylight, giving all the 
appearance of a miniature attack. Somewhat surprised, it is to be 
imagined, at this extraordinary manoeuvre, the Htm opened up on 
the party with artillery and treated them to a blast of gunfire from 
which they were fortunate to escape without heavy losses. Needless 
to say this daylight bringing up of rations was not repeated. 

After being relieved on April 18th, the Royal Highlanders 
moved back to a comparatively quiet spot in Farbus Wood. Here 
three days were spent, the men keenly enjoying the fact that nearby 
a battery of captured German guns was in action against its former 
masters. The Canadian Artillerymen who manned these guns also 
seemed to delight in their task, each shell being entrusted with blood 
curdling messages to deliver in the German trenches. 

From Farbus Wood the 13th moved back on April 21st and 
spent the next five days at a point between the Lens-Arras Road 
and the Old British Front Line. Working parties were the chief 
feature of this period, these being employed to repair dugouts with 
a view to converting them into regular billets. On April 23rd a 
different task was accomplished when each company detailed 1 
officer and 85 other ranks to bury cable. These parties proceeded 
independently to Nine Elms, where they were combined into one 
large party, under the command of Capt. D. B. Donald, who re 
ported to an officer of the 1st Divisional Signal Coy. 

At this time the 73rd Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, 

[175] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

of the 4th Canadian Division, passed out of existence, the personnel 
being drafted to the 13th and 42nd Battalions. This reorganization 
was caused by the fact that Montreal was over-represented by bat 
talions at the front in proportion to the total of her enlistments and 
ability to maintain reinforcements. The passing of the 73rd, which 
had gained an enviable reputation, was deplored by the officers and 
men of the 13th and 42nd, who none the less welcomed the splendid 
drafts that came as a result of the dissolution. One group allotted 
to the 13th included the entire 73rd Pipe Band, this addition bring 
ing the strength of the 13th Pipe Band up to nearly fifty, a for 
midable number when the authorized establishment was six. To 
celebrate the union of the two battalions, the combined bands at 
tempted an entertainment on April 23rd, but this was not an entire 
success, as the enemy rudely dispersed the performers with some 
well placed shells. 

Before the tour in this area was completed, Lieut.-Col. G. E. 
McCuaig was evacuated, suffering from a severe attack of laryn 
gitis and trench fever, brought on by the exertions and exposure of 
the previous fortnight. On his departure, command of the Bat 
talion was assumed by Major J. Jeffery, M.C., who handed over to 
Major K. M. Perry, when the latter returned from hospital on the 
evening of the 26th. Just previous to Major Perry s return the 
13th had moved back to Pendu Huts, not far from the Bois des 
Alleux Huts, with which the men were so familiar. This was the 
first occasion on which the Battalion had been back out of the 
fighting area since the assault on Vimy Ridge on the morning of 
April 9th. Casualties during the 17 days had totalled 186, a number 
that was reasonable, considering the nature of the work accom 
plished. All ranks were congratulating themselves on this good 
fortune and preparing to settle down for a period of training when, 
on the afternoon of April 28th, Brigade advised that the village 
of Arleux had been captured and ordered the 13th forward into 

support. 

Leaving a reserve of 12 officers and 180 other ranks under 
Major Jeffery, Major Perry led the main body forward to a 
position in the Bois de la Ville, stopping at the Nine Elms en route, 
where Lieut. Renahan distributed bombs, sandbags and ground 
flares Some time after arriving at Bois de la Ville, the Battalion 
moved forward again and relieved the 5th Battalion (Western 

Cavalry) , in the front line. 

[176] 




Ix RESERVE XEAR 



Canadian Official, Copyright. 




FARBUS, MAY, 1917. 



Canadian Official, Copyright. 



THELUS, FARBUS, ARLEUX AND FRESNOY 

The "line" at this particular point was found by the 13th to be 
a name rather than a reality. "D" Coy., under Major W. E. Mac- 
farlane, who had with him Lieuts. H. A. Johnston, A. S. MacLean, 
J. S. Ireland, W. D. C. Christie and F. C. Smith, was selected to 
occupy the actual front, with the other companies in fairly close 
support. Macfarlane, accordingly, took over and found that his 
position was in a most uncertain state. On the right flank was the 
15th Battalion, but between this unit and the 13th was a gap 
nearly 200 yards wide. The left flank was even worse, being "in 
the air," as the adjoining battalion of the 2nd Division could not 
be found in the location where it had been reported. As a result, 
Macfarlane found that the front which his company, with a bayonet 
strength of about 130, was expected to hold was nearly a mile in 
width. Heavy shelling complicated his situation, as his wires to 
Battalion Headquarters were constantly being cut, while communica 
tion by runners was difficult owing to the weight of the enemy 
barrages. 

Becoming aware of all these difficulties and noticing that the 
terrain was well suited to a German counter-attack, Major Perry 
ordered Macfarlane to take no chances, but to touch off an S.O.S. 
should the enemy show the slightest sign of aggressiveness. Mean 
while, Perry undertook to get in touch with the 2nd Canadian 
Division and straighten out the obscure situation on the left flank, 
while Capt. F. S. Mathewson, of "B" Coy., who had two platoons 
directly in front of Arleux village in support of "D" Coy., made 
dispositions with his remaining platoons to protect this same danger 
point. 

All day on the 29th and again on the 30th, the companies of the 
13th were subjected to heavy shelling, but, while this was unpleasant 
for all, "D" Coy., owing to its exposed position, and "B" Coy. in 
support got much the worst of it. In "D" Coy. casualties were 
numerous, while, as a result of concussion, such men as were 
otherwise uninjured were dazed and shaken almost beyond endur 
ance, this condition being accentuated by the fact that no food or 
water could be sent through to them. 

Meanwhile the Canadian artillery was active, shelling Fresnoy 
Village, Fresnoy Wood and the wire that protected these locations, 
in preparation for an attack by the infantry. In order to make 
sure that the wire was well cut and that the Canadian battalions, 
when the time came, would not be hung up and slaughtered as at 

[177] 
12 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Regina Trench, Lieut. P. E. Corbett and a party of 10 men con 
ducted a daring daylight reconnaissance, as a result of which the 
exact condition of the enemy wire was made known to those who 
were to control the attack. In addition, this reconnaissance as 
sisted in clearing up and rectifying the obscure position on the left 
flank. 

At dusk on May 1st the left platoon of "D" Coy. caught sight 
of several bodies of the enemy filtering into a sunken road, obvious 
ly massing for something more serious than a patrol. Accordingly, 
in obedience to Major Perry s explicit orders, Major Macfarlane 
set off an S.O.S. which, on this occasion, consisted of three red 
Very lights. The reply of the Canadian artillery to this message 
was magnificent, both as regards promptness and volume. Ac 
tually before the last of the lights had died away, a terrific barrage 
fell on the area and the Hun attack, if such had indeed been planned, 
was smothered before it had a chance to develop. Afterwards a 
Highland patrol found three German dead and three badly wounded 
men whom their comrades had abandoned. 

Later that same night an Engineer officer arrived at the front 
and, under his supervision, the 13th prepared jumping off trenches 
several hundred yards in advance of their position and close to 
Fresnoy. From these, units of the 1st Brigade, which relieved the 
13th early on the morning of May 1st, launched the assault which 
brought Fresnoy into Canadian hands two days later. 

After relief by the 1st Brigade, the 13th moved back to the 
Red Line of the Vimy Battle, Battalion Headquarters being in a 
dugout, called "Wittelsberger," or "Wittelsbacher" Haus. Work 
ing parties cleaned up this area on May 2nd, but on the following 
day unexpected orders took the Battalion forward to the Brown 
Line once more, the advance being made in small parties to escape 
enemy shelling. 

After holding this new position for 24 hours, during which time 
the artillery on both sides displayed activity, the 13th was relieved 
by the 1st Devons of the 95th British Infantry Brigade. This unit 
had suffered severely in the recent fighting and was in no shape to 
take over an important part of the line. Morale was good, but th 
unit was very weak numerically, consequently it was no surprise 
the Canadians, though a great disappointment, when news was 1 
ceived that the Germans had counter-attacked and retaken 

[178] 



THELUS, FARBUS, ARLEUX AND FRESNOY 

ground which the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade had bought so 
dearly. 

With this one day tour in the Brown Line, the part played by 
the 13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, in the so-called 
Battles of Arras, 1917, comes to an end. Under date of May 3rd, 
Lieut.-Gen. Sir Julian Byng, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., M.V.O., who had 
commanded the Canadian Corps through all these engagements, 
issued the following special message: 

"The brilliant operations during the last month, culminating in 
the capture of Arleux and Fresnoy, seem to give me the opportunity 
of expressing to all ranks the pride I feel in commanding the 
Canadian Corps. 

"Since the 9th April, when the offensive against the Vimy Ridge 
began, till the morning of May 3rd, when Fresnoy was captured 
and consolidated, it has been one series of successes, only obtained 
by troops whose courage, discipline and initiative stand pre-eminent. 

"Nine villages have passed into our hands. Eight German 
Divisions have been met and defeated. Over 5,000 prisoners have 
been captured and booty, comprising some 64 guns, 106 trench 
mortars and 126 machine guns, are now the trophies of the 
Canadians. 

"The training undergone during the winter has borne fruit, and 
ft is this training, coupled with the zeal and gallantry which are so 
conspicuous in all ranks of the Corps, that will continue to gain 
results as potent and far reaching as those which began with the 
capture of Vimy Ridge." 

This message to the troops of the Canadian Corps was followed 
shortly by the announcement that, in recognition of gallantry during 
the period in question, honours had been granted to a number of 
officers and men. On this list appeared the names of Capt. W. S. 
M. MacTier and Lieut. P. E. Corbett, of the 13th, who received the 
Military Cross, while the Military Miedal was awarded to Sergt. W. 
T. Hornby, Sergt. W. W. Ireland, Sergt. J. Robertson, Corp. J. 
Tupper, Lance-Corp. R. G. Bell, Private A. W. Crawford and 
Private F. S. Nelles. 

II 

Following the termination of the Vimy battles, the 3rd Canadian 
Brigade was withdrawn for nearly a month to Corps Reserve, during 

[179] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

which time the 13th Battalion occupied billets, first at Chateau de la 
Haie, where the accommodation was excellent, and then for a longer 
period at Gouy Servins, where billets were inferior, but where 
the men were interested in meeting again many of the French in 
habitants with whom they had struck up acquaintance in November 
of the previous year. 

Immediately oil 1 reaching the Reserve Area, the Battalion, whose 
strength at this time totalled 1077 all ranks, started an extended 
programme of training. Realizing the value of morale in connec 
tion with training, the first parade held was to the Divisional Baths, 
where the men, in addition to enjoying the luxury of hot water, 
received clean underclothing and socks that were very welcome. 

The next move on the programme was the renewal of the anti 
typhoid inoculation, this being followed by an inspection to see that 
all men had their tunics cut in Highland fashion, or if they had 
not, to get this defect remedied. All other ranks then passed 
through the hands of the regimental barbers and had their hair cut, 
while the regimental shoe-makers were put to work repairing faulty 
boots. Considerably smartened as a result of these attentions, the 
Battalion presented a fine appearance on May 9th when the 3rd 
Brigade carried out a ceremonial parade before the Divisional 
Commander, Major-Gen. A. W. Currie, and also on May 10th when 
the Brigade was inspected by the Corps Commander, Lieut.-Gen. the 
Hon. Sir Julian Byng. 

During this period a Sergeants Mess was organized and a Bat 
talion concert party came into being, both these organizations in their 
respective fields helping materially to make the stay in Corps Re 
serve agreeable. The officers, too, re-established their Mess and 
were able to offer hospitality to a number of their friends in units 
stationed nearby. With a view to offsetting any tendency to slack 
ness that might arise from war conditions, it was understood that 
suitable attire would be expected in the evenings and the ordinary 
etiquette of Mess routine observed at all times. 

As was to be expected, sports took up the men s time when they 
were not employed in drilling and training. Baseball games be 
tween companies and platoons were numerous, while the Battalion 
football team practised faithfully and indulged in several contests 
with success, bowing, however, to a team from the 15th Battalion 
after a game that was a thriller from start to finish. Some consola 
tion for this defeat was obtained when a 13th rifle team shot against 

[180] 



THELUS, FARBUS, ARLEUX AND FRESNOY 

a team from the 15th on the latter s ranges and came away winners 
by a score of 988-876. 

Battalion sports were held on May 12th and aroused the usual 
keen interest, the pillow fight on the greasy pole being one of the 
most popular items on the programme. For this event, which was 
won by Lance-Corp. W. Armstrong, of "A" Coy., a large water 
tank was placed to receive the defeated entrants, whose puffings 
and splashings pleased the spectators immensely. Brigade sports 
followed in due course and in these the men of the 13th distinguished 
themselves by winning first place in six out of the twelve events 
contested. In a baseball match for the "Championship of France," 
which brought the sports to a close, the Royal Highlanders were 
also winners, gaining the decision by a score of 9-1. As one mem 
ber of the Battalion remarked in a letter home, "I won 125 francs 
on the sports and 200 francs on the baseball game, so it wasn t a 
bad day s work at all." Later in the month Brig.-Gen. G. S. 
Tuxford, C.M.G. was invited to judge a competition between the 
four best platoons in the Battalion, the decision to be based on 
efficiency and smartness of appearance. This competition was 
close, but eventually the prize was awarded to No. 15 Platoon, 
of "D" Coy., under command of Lieut. J. S. Ireland. 

On May 13th the battalions of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Bri 
gade attended a special service of thanksgiving for the victory granted 
to Canadian arms at Vimy Ridge. This service, though simple, 
was most impressive and was attended by the Army Commander, 
General Home, and many other officers of high rank, who had taken 
part in the operations. 

All during the time in Corps Reserve the services of the pipe 
band of the 13th were in great demand. The massed bands of the 
Brigade played at the Brigade Sports, which were held at Chateau 
de la Haie, and again at Army Headquarters at Ranchicourt, on May 
26th. On, May 29th an even more ambitious programme was car 
ried out at Camblain 1 Abbe, when the massed bands of the whole 
Canadian Corps, consisting of 162 pipes and 105 drums, played at 
Corps Headquarters before an audience which included Field- 
Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, G.C.B., G.C.V.O., Commandcr-in-Chief 
of the British Armies in France, Gen. Sir H. S. Horne, K.C.B., 
Lieut.-Gen. Sir Julian Byng, K.C.B., Major-Gen. A. W. Currie, 
C.B., Prince Arthur of Connaught and many other officers on the 
Corps, Divisional and Brigade Staffs. The great success of the pro- 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

ceedings on these occasions was in no small measure due to the 
painstaking work of Pipe-Major D. Manson, of the 13th Royal 
Highlanders, who was in supreme control. 

The health of the troops at this time was good. Sixty-seven 
men were sent to hospital during the month of May for one cause 
or another, but the great majority of these cases were of a minor 
nature and many reported back for duty after undergoing a few 
days treatment, so that, with the addition of two drafts, totalling 
113 men, the strength of the Battalion when the period in Corps 
Reserve came to an end, had crept up to 1113 all ranks. 

On May 29th, in preparation for a move, an officers party, 
consisting of Major J. Jeffery, Major I. M. R. Sinclair, Capt. 
Melrose, Capt. Bennett and Lieut. Corbett, reconnoitred the series 
of trenches which the Battalion was destined to occupy on its next 
tour in the line. Simultaneously another party, composed of Lieut. 
E. Appleby, Lieut. J. S. Ireland and ten other ranks, reported to 
No. 16 Squadron, Royal Air Force, for one day s instruction in 
co-operation between Infantry and Aircraft. 

Two days later the Battalion marched from Gouy Servins, passed 
the night in tents at Berthonval, proceeded on the next day to 
Thelus Cave and, after dark, moved over the top of the ridge to 
relieve the 21st Canadian Battalion in the front line between 
Acheville and Mericourt, with the support companies at Mont Foret 
Quarries. As had now become the established custom, a percentage 
of officers and men was left out of the line to form the Battalion 
reserve. 

The position occupied by the 13th was rather a novel one. The 
ground was not much broken up by shell fire, the trenches were 
new and quite small, no dugouts existed, nor was there any wire 
out in front, conditions consequently resembling to some extent 
those of open warfare. Curiously enough, the 13th was warned 
on taking over this position that the enemy was master of No 
Man s Land and it was suggested that the Battalion govern itself 
accordingly. Accepting this information rather in the nature of a 
challenge, strong patrols of the 13th prepared to contest the Hun 
superiority. Although these patrols swept No Man s Land over 
and over again, their free progress was never even disputed. 

For five days the 13th held this section of the line, the task 
being a difficult one, owing to the fact that the enemy had direct 
observation from a position on the left and made use of this to 

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THELUS, FARBUS, ARLEUX AND FRESNOY 

enfilade the trenches with machine gun fire. Casualties from this 
and other causes totalled 16, amongst the wounded being Lieut. H. 
H. Chanter, who was struck in the leg on June 2nd while coming 
forward to rejoin the Battalion after a temporary absence. This 
was the third occasion on which Lieut. Chanter had suffered wounds. 

During this tour the Battalion endured its first experience of 
that horror of the war s latter stages night bombing from aero 
planes. On this occasion the Battalion Transport got knocked 
about, while several men in the front line were injured as a result 
of bombs dropped from an enemy plane. Gas shelling was another 
feature that made the tour unpleasant. On the night of June 5th, 
when the Battalion was relieved, the move back was accomplished 
under a barrage of gas shells. In spite of respirators, some of the 
men caught a whiff or so of gas, which caused them to retch miser 
ably, while the great majority suffered no ill effects from the gas 
itself, but had a hard time to see where they were going, the night 
being dark and progress much obstructed by old trenches, ditches 
and barbed wire entanglements. 

For the next five days the 13th remained in a reserve position 
not far from Vimy Station, whence parties fared forth nightly to 
work in or near the front line. The chief event of this period was 
a competition at the Transport Lines between the four battalions of 
the 3rd Brigade, in which prizes were offered for the best Cook- 
Kitchen, Water-Cart, Limber and Pack Cob. There was great re 
joicing in the Battalion when it was found that the 13th had won 
first prize in all four classes, Lieut. Johnston, the Transport Officer, 
and his men receiving warm congratulations. 

After the tour near Vimy Station, the Royal Highlanders moved 
back, under shell fire that killed two men, and spent a fortnight in 
Brigade Reserve, first at Paynesley and later at Fraser Camp, near 
Mont. St. Eloy. At both these places a stiff programme of training 
was carried out, special attention being paid to grenade work, under 
Lieut. Renahan, and Lewis Gun operations, directed by Lieut. G. 
Millar. Entertainments by the Battalion Concert Party were suc 
cessfully held on several occasions, while an innovation appreciated 
by all the men was the serving of hot tea immediately after reveille 
and before the morning s physical drill. 

On June 25th the Battalion moved forward and at night took 
over the same section of front as had been held early in the month. 
A week was spent in the front line, the tour being marked by two 

[183] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

events of some importance. The first of these occurred on June 
28th, when the Battalion staged a "Chinese attack," with the object 
of diverting the enemy s attention from another part of the line 
where more serious operations were contemplated. 

To carry out the "Chinese" attack, the men of the 13th built a 
jumping off trench in front of their own line, knowing full well that 
this work would not escape the attention of the vigilant Hun. Dum 
my figures were then secretly placed in the trench and strings with 
which to work them run back to the front line. At the moment of 
the "attack" these strings were jerked, the dummies bobbing around 
in response and the trench, from a distance, looking as if crowded 
with eager troops awaiting the signal to go over the top. Half a 
minute later a smoke barrage hid the dummies from view, lest some 
German observer with powerful glasses, or unusually quick intui 
tion, should penetrate the deception and give the whole show away. 
The appearance of the dummies a few seconds in advance of the 
smoke would, it was hoped, be taken by the Germans as a failure on 
the part of the Canadians to synchronize things properly. The 
ruse worked well on this occasion and the German artillery, quick 
to answer their infantry s S.O.S., concentrated on the poor dummies 
and blew them out of existence. The danger in an "attack" of this 
sort lies in the fact that the enemy does not confine his attention to 
the dummy trench, but shells the whole area, including the front 
line and communication trenches. Knowing this, the Royal High 
landers took the obvious precautions and escaped without losses, 
while the Canadian artillery, seeing that the Hun had swallowed 
the bait, shelled his lines heavily in the hope of catching troops 
whom he might rush up to meet the threatened assault. 

At one point observers noticed that the enemy shelled a portion 
of his own line and this fact was duly reported to the powers that 
be, who evidently found in the information something that puzzled 
them not a little. Rumours had reached them that the Hun was 
contemplating a retirement on this front and the fact that he shelled 
his own front line may have suggested that the retreat had actually 
begun, despite the fact that the forward battalions found nothing 
in the quality of their opposition to support such a belief. 

The point was an important one, however, and the 13th received 
orders to push a patrol into the enemy lines to investigate. On the 
night of June 28th, in obedience to these orders, Lieut. J. F. Smith, 

[184] 



THELUS, FARBUS, ARLEUX AND FRESNOY 

the Patrol Officer, and a party of eight other ranks, proceeded across 
No Man s Land and worked their way in through the enemy wire. 

Suddenly a bomb was thrown at them and simultaneously a 
machine gun opened fire at close range. Realizing that he had en 
countered a strong enemy post, Lieut. Smith ordered his men to 
retire to their own lines, while he himself with one man remained to 
cover the movement. The party suffered several minor casualties 
during the withdrawal, but eventually reached the front line in 
safety. After receiving the report of the party and waiting in vain 
for Smith s return , Major F. S. Mathewson and Sergt. W. T. 
Hornby went out to discover what was amiss. 

Half way across No Man s Land Mathewson and Hornby found 
the man who had remained with Smith when he ordered the party 
to retire. This man reported that a bomb had struck Smith and, 
presumably, killed him. He himself had started at once to the 
officer s aid, but had been struck down and seriously wounded before 
he could reach the spot where the latter fell. Realizing his inability 
to be of assistance to Smith, the man had started to crawl to his 
own lines, dragging his shattered leg behind him. As day was 
breaking by this time, Mathewson and Hornby were unable to push 
further forward. Between them they carried the wounded man, 
who had reached the extreme limit of his endurance, back to safety 
in the 13th lines. That night Sergt. Hornby took out a large 
patrol to the spot where Smith had last been seen but, in spite of 
an exhaustive search, no trace of the latter could be found. With 
little hope therefore and with deep regret this brave officer s name 
was added to the Battalion s roll of "missing." 

During the remainder of the tour in the front line, patrols at 
night were frequent and No Man s Land was combed with a thor 
oughness that brought to light many important items as to the 
disposition of the enemy and the state of his wire. Aeroplanes were 
also active during this period, and one daring Hun flew low over 
the front trenches, engaging in a battle with the Highlanders 
machine guns and coming off a winner by wounding two men and, 
so far as could be judged, escaping uninjured himself. 

On the night of July 3rd, "B" Coy., part of "A" and "C" Com 
panies and Battalion Headquarters were relieved by the 3rd 
Canadian Battalion, command of those sections which remained in 
the line passing temporarily to the 16th Battalion, Canadian Scot 
tish. These sections were relieved by the 14th Battalion on the 

[185] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

following night and rejoined their own unit, which had moved to a 
reserve position a little south of Vimy Station. 

As was always the case in reserve, working parties in and about 
the front line at night kept a large number of the men busy. The 
duties of these parties were hard and tiring, but in no way ex 
ceptional, consisting- chiefly of digging and wiring trenches, carry 
ing forward materials, rations and trench mortar ammunition, and 
other tasks of a similar character. 

On the evening of July 8th, after dusk, the 13th Battalion moved 
up and relieved the 16th Canadian Battalion, in the support area 
around Saskatchewan Road. This position had been reconnoitred by 
parties of the 13th on the previous day, the officers and N.C.O s. of 
"A" Coy. having had a miraculous escape when a salvo of field gun 
shells landed amongst them and exploded without causing a single 
casualty. Observers of the incident have commented that the miracle 
of the escape was at least equalled by the miracle of speed shown 
by the party in leaving the unwholesome spot behind. 

For five days the 13th remained in the Saskatchewan Road 
support position, supplying working parties at night with unfailing 
regularity. These parties, however, found their task somewhat less 
monotonous than usual, as they were engaged well out in No Man s 
Land in front of Mericourt, digging and wiring a new front line 
trench. Covering parties lay still further out to protect the workers 
from any sudden attack, but none such occurred, the only casualties 
suffered being caused by long range machine gun fire, this in spite 
of the fact that the moon was unusually bright and the danger 
correspondingly increased. 

During this period a large wooden cross was constructed at the 
13th Transport Lines and erected in the Cemetery at Nine Elms, 
as a memorial to officers and men of the Battalion who had given 
their lives in the spring engagements at Vimy Ridge. This cross 
was brought to Canada after the war and now stands in the grounds 
of the Royal Military College, Kingston. 

Somewhat unexpectedly, the Royal Highlanders were relieved 
by the llth Battalion of the East Lanes, on the night of July 13th, 
the platoons marching back to the "Rhine and Elbe" area and reach 
ing their destination at an early hour in the morning. Here the 
pipe band joined the Battalion and in the afternoon the companies, 
each with its quota of pipes and drums, moved back to Ottawa Camp 
in the Bois des Alleux. 

[186] 



THELUS, FARBUS, ARLEUX AND FRESNOY 

This was familiar territory to the men of the 13th, but the scene 
had altered since their last visit. Then all was bustle and activity 
and mud ; now the Bois was a peaceful, almost idyllic, spot, pervaded 
by a sense of calm and with wild flowers growing everywhere in 
great profusion. 

No parades for drill were held on the one day that the Battalion 
remained in this location, but rifles were inspected, as were kits, 
while a part of the unit paraded for pay and another for bathing- 
purposes. The greater part of the time, however, was given to the 
men to rest, officers being anxious that the latter should be in good 
condition to march early on the following morning. 



[187] 



CHAPTER XIV 

Hill 70 

No easy hopes or lies 
Shall bring us to our goal, 
But iron sacrifice 
Of body, will, and soul. 

RUDYARD KIPLING. 

I 

REVEILLE sounded at 5 a.m. on July 16th and at 7 a.m. 
the companies moved off, preceded by the cook-kitchens, 
which had a hot lunch ready when the troops reached a point 
near Verdrel. After lunch the march was continued, Headquarters 
finally halting with "A" and "B" Companies at Fosse 7, "C" Coy. 
billeting at Barlin and "D" Coy. at Ruitz. Here the Battalion re 
mained for some 24 hours, the men bathing and amusing themselves 
in the evening by visiting the local stores and estaminets. After din 
ner on the 17th, Battalion Headquarters and the four companies 
paraded and marched to a camp on the outskirts of Noeux-les-Mines, 
where the men billeted in some of the most comfortable and well 
equipped huts that had up to this time fallen to their lot. 

Moving from these commodious quarters on the afternoon of the 
18th, the Battalion proceeded, via Sains-en-Gohelle and Bully 
Grenay, to billets in les Brebis and Maroc, "C" and "D" Companies 
continuing on to a position in support trenches further forward. 
Considerable shelling of Maroc and neighbourhood occurred at 
night, but the men of the 13th, occupying cellars, escaped without 
casualties. One man was killed and several injured, however, 
while engaged on a working party carrying ammunition. 

On July 20th Lieut.-Col. McCuaig and a group of officers went 
forward to reconnoitre trenches on the slight rise just to the east 
of the village of Loos. This was Hill 70, famous as the tragic 
spot where the Territorial Highland Regiments had suffered such 
disastrous losses in the autumn of 1915. Lieut.-Col. McCuaig and 
his party were informed by the Brigadier that the task of avenging 

[188] 



HILL 70 

these losses and of capturing the Hill had been entrusted to the 
Canadian Corps, which would begin preparations immediately. 

Many of the officers of the 13th had some acquaintance with this 
district, but the secret of the coming assault sharpened their interest 
in the topography of the country, a sound knowledge of which was 
now essential. Field glasses were accordingly unslung, maps eager 
ly consulted and every effort made to gather all information 
possible. As secrecy was an important element in the plan for the 
capture of Hill 70, the officers of the 13th on returning from the 
reconnaissance made no mention of what was in the wind even 
to the most trusted of their N.C.O s., preferring to wait till the 
Battalion had retired to the training area, when there would be 
less chance of harm from a careless remark, or an ill judged 
confidence. 

Relief occurred on the afternoon and night of July 22nd, the 
Highlanders reaching their destination, which proved to be Noeux- 
les-Mines, early on the morning of the 23rd. In some extraordinary 
way the civilian population, as was so often the case, seemed well 
aware of matters regarding which the troops themselves were ig 
norant. On this occasion the arrival of the Highlanders in Noeux- 
les-Mines evoked considerable quiet enthusiasm, the citizens greet 
ing them affectionately as, "the brave Canadians, who were soon to 
drive the dirty Boches far away." 

From the 24th of July until the end of the month the 13th Bat 
talion trained intensively, devoting every effort to perfecting the 
moves to be undertaken in the coming operations. First of all a 
party of officers and N.C.O s. visited the area at Aix-Noulette where, 
as had been the case during the preparations for the Battle of Vimy 
Ridge, a facsimile of the enemy s trenches had been taped out. On 
the following day actual training began, the platoons of the Battalion 
receiving individual attention and rehearsing over the taped area. 
As soon as the platoons had mastered their parts, work by com 
panies commenced, this being succeeded in turn by Battalion re 
hearsals and finally by Brigade operations on an elaborate scale. 

In these operations the troops moved forward behind a line 
of men carrying small flags, who represented the barrage. Hill 
70 was duplicated in every possible feature and at one point it seemed 
that the Engineers in their eagerness to render the contours exact 
had committed a dangerous error, as the troops on pushing over the 

[189] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

top of the hill found that the latter stage of their advance was 
under direct, though distant, observation from the German lines. 
The explanation of this seeming mistake lay in the fact that the 
area in question was the only one where operations on such a scale 
could be conducted without alienating the friendship of the local 
population by trampling down the growing crops, which every 
Frenchman regarded as of vital importance. What the distant Ger 
man observers thought of the solemn row of little figures, each 
waving a tiny flag, and of the denser rows which followed so de 
terminedly, no man will ever know. Perhaps they were too busy 
with their own affairs to be interested. At any rate, the Canadian 
rehearsals were quite undisturbed, for which all ranks were devout 
ly thankful. 

Every private was expected to familiarize himself with the 
taped area and to study large coloured maps prepared for the 
purpose. Officers took pains, too, to answer questions and encour 
aged the men to make suggestions on matters which immediately 
concerned them. Lectures were delivered to all ranks and officers 
were instructed to visit and examine a specially prepared plasticine 
model of Hill 70, which revealed every feature that the keen eyes 
of aerial cameras could detect. All this time the Intelligence Sec 
tion of the 13th was in the front line studying the actual ground to 
be fought over, with the assistance of a huge telescopic periscope 
captured at Vimy, collecting information, piecing this together and 
keeping Battalion Headquarters informed regarding all develop 
ments of consequence. 

Meanwhile changes in the higher command of the Canadian 
Corps had taken place. Sir Julian Byng, in recognition of his 
striking success at Vimy Ridge, had been promoted to the command 
of the Third Army. His place as Corps Commander had been taken 
by Lieut. Gen. A. W. Currie, a Canadian born civilian soldier, whose 
distinguished record throughout the whole war clearly entitled him 
to this post of importance and honour. In turn, General Currie s 
position as Commander of the 1st Canadian Division had passed to 
Major-Gen. A. C. Macdonell, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., whom the 
troops had known as a Brigade Commander and news of whose 
appointment to higher rank was received with universal satisfaction. 
It was in his new capacity as Divisional Commander that Major-Gen. 
Macdonell inspected and addressed the men of the 13th on the 
afternoon of July 30th, complimenting them on what they had done 

[190] 



HILL 70 

in the past and expressing confidence in their ability to continue 
the good work in the future. 

Bad weather during the next few days rendered living conditions 
at" Noeux-les-Mines miserable in the extreme and only strenuous 
work by draining parties prevented the huts from being badly 
flooded. It was not with much regret, therefore, that the Battalion 
vacated the camp on August 2nd and moved up into the forward 
area, "C" and "D" Companies and Battalion Headquarters taking 
over billets at les Brebis, whilst "A" and "B" Companies proceeded 
to support positions in the Village Line. 

Three days later "A" and "B" Companies were relieved and 
rejoined the main body of the Battalion in les Brebis. Here five 
days were spent, the time passing agreeably enough in daylight 
when, for some reason or other, the enemy artillery was not par 
ticularly active. At night, on the contrary, shelling was too brisk 
for comfort and the men on more than one occasion were roused 
from sleep and forced to take refuge in the cellars or surrounding 
fields. Many narrow escapes occurred, but actual casualties were 
avoided, as was the case with numerous working parties provided 
by the Battalion during this period. 

On August 10th the Battalion moved back to Barlin, spent two 
days there and returned to les Brebis on August 13th, Headquarters 
moving up to Meath Trench after dark, "C" Coy. to forward 
trenches and "B" Coy. to the Village Line. The following night 
"A" and "D" Companies moved up and the whole Battalion as 
sembled in jumping off trenches for the Battle of Hill 70. 

Operation Order No. 112, dealing with the duties that would 
fall to the lot of the 13th, was now about to be carried out. Roughly, 
the plan was that the 1st and 2nd Canadian Divisions should attack, 
with the 1st Division on the left. Each Division was to use two 
Brigades in the assault and, in the case of the 1st Division, the 2nd 
and 3rd Brigades were those chosen, the 3rd Brigade being on the 
left. In the 3rd Brigade the attacking battalions, from left to right 
were the 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders), the 13th Battalion, 
Royal Highlanders of Canada and the 16th Battalion, Canadian 
Scottish. The 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regiment, was to 
mop up and carry, a role which the 13th had played at Vimy Ridge. 

As will be seen from the above, the 15th Battalion was on the 
extreme left of the attack, with the 13th Battalion coming next. 
As the objectives assigned to the units farther to the right were at 

[191] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

a greater distance from the jumping off trenches, the attack was 
really a pivotal one, with the 15th occupying the hinge position. 

So far as the 13th Battalion was concerned, orders called for 
an attack in two stages, with objectives named respectively the Blue 
Line and the Green Line. 

The Blue Line was to be attacked by two companies, "D" Coy. 
on the right and "B" Coy. on the left. During this stage of the 
operation "A" Coy. was to act in support of the whole front, while 
"C" Coy. was to mop up and carry supplies. After the capture of 
the Blue Line "A" Coy. was ordered to replace "B" Coy. on the 
left front of the attack and await the lifting of the barrage. When 
this occurred "A" and "D" Companies were to advance against the 
final, or Green, objective. 

"B" Coy. in the meantime was ordered to consolidate the cap 
tured Blue Line, while three platoons of "C" Coy. continued the 
work of carrying material and mopping up. The remaining platoon 
of "C" Coy. was ordered to move forward with "A" and "D" Com 
panies to wire the Green Line as soon as possible after its capture. 

Some idea of the immense quantities of stores that the Battalion 
was to use in the attack can be gathered from the tables attached to 
the Operation Order. From these lists one picks items such as the 
following : 

66,000 rounds of rifle ammunition. 
700 rounds of pistol ammunition. 

1,500 rounds of blank cartridges to propel rifle grenades. 
4,100 bombs. 
870 Very lights. 
666 ground flares. 
334 shovels. 

134 picks. 
6,750 sandbags. 

135 sheets of corrugated iron. 
135 long screw pickets. 

400 short screw pickets. 
14 infantry foot bridges. 
14 trench ladders. 
70 coils of barbed wire. 
7 steel shelters. 

[192] 




MEMORIAL CROSS, ERECTED BY THE KATT \LIOX AT Xixic ELMS, 
VIMY RIDGE, MAY, 1917. 

(This Cross now stands in the grounds of the Royal Military 
College at Kingston.) 



HILL 70 

All this material, together with nails of various sizes, pit props, wire 
cutters and other articles too numerous to mention, was in posses 
sion of the Battalion before the day of the attack actually dawned. 

II 

On the night of August 14th the Royal Highlanders, as already 
stated, moved up into trenches whence the assault on Hill 70 was 
to be launched. Battalion Headquarters was in Meath Trench, 
slightly in rear of the left front, and here gathered the various 
infantry and artillery liaison officers and all the connecting links so 
vital in the conduct of a great battle. In this dugout, too, Lieut. - 
Col. McCombe, of the 14th Royal Montreal Regiment, established 
his advanced headquarters. 

Assembly was complete by 2.40 o clock on the morning of the 
15th, an hour and three quarters before the attack was due. Taking 
advantage of this, Lieut.-Col. McCuaig called a conference of his 
company commanders to make certain that each had thoroughly 
grasped the details of his task. "A" Coy. was to be led by Major 
I. M, R. Sinclair, "B" by Major F. S. Mathewson, "C" by Capt. H. 
D. Ives and "D" by Capt. W. H. D. Bennett. Each of these stated 
that his company was ready and showed that he himself had mas 
tered every detail of his orders. Satisfied, therefore, that the com 
panies would not fail through any fault in leadership, Lieut.-Col. 
McCuaig dismissed the conference and the four officers proceeded 
to their commands. 

For the next half hour silence reigned over the whole area. 
Thousands of men were packed in the front line, yet a few yards 
away in No Man s Land an observer, had there been such, might 
easily have fancied himself alone in a desolate and deserted country. 
Only the occasional crack of a rifle and the even less frequent boom 
of a big gun would have told him that his solitude was more fancied 
than real. 

About 3.55 a.m. Lieut.-Col. McCuaig and several other officers 
moved out into No Man s Land and lay down to await the zero 
hour. The strictest silence was maintained during this move, 
nevertheless a vague warning of approaching disaster seemed to 
permeate the enemy lines. Under its influence a few of his bat 
teries came to life and laid a light barrage along the Canadian line. 
His infantry, too, became uneasy, as if fearing something, but 
unaware of what they feared. Thus, at 4.20 a.m., two double red 

[193] 
13 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

signal lights blazed suddenly in the German lines, followed a minute 
or two later by a rocket, which soared up into the blackness of the 
might and burst into a shower of golden rain. Exactly what these 
signals meant the Highlanders never knew, for half a minute after 
the rocket had gone up the Canadian machine gun barrage started 
and five seconds later the air was torn and split as the artillery joined 
in. 

With "D" Coy. on the right, "B" on the left and "A" in close 
support, the waves of the Royal Highlanders started for their first 
objective. No time was lost in pushing forward, as all ranks 
realized that in a matter of moments the German counter barrage 
would fall and in all probability the target chosen would be No 
Man s Land and the trenches from which the attack had come. Un 
til certain of what had happened the enemy would hesitate to shell 
his own front line, so that was a spot to be reached as fast as was 
consistent with discipline and good order. 

In the darkness of the night the attack of "D" Coy. had at 
first a tendency to bear to the right, but this was quickly over 
come, largely through the gallant and devoted effort of Capt. 
W. H. D. Bennett, an> original 13th N.C.O., who, although mor 
tally wounded, continued to direct his men until no longer able 
to speak. A second factor which assisted in correcting direction 
at some points, although it dazzled the men and had the opposite 
effect at others, was a great sheet of red and yellow flame, which 
sprang up on the left flank and burned with extraordinary bril 
liance. At the moment the troops had no explanation of this 
phenomenon, but later it was discovered that a special party of 
the Royal Engineers had used trench mortars to throw cylinders 
of blazing oil and thus put out of action a German strong point, 
known as "Puits No. 14-bis." The red light from this blazing 
oil, flashing and glittering on the long lines of bayonets was a. 
sight to fire the imagination. There was something grim and 
symbolic about it, as if the bayonets had done their work and 
were running red in consequence. 

On reaching the German front line system, the Royal High 
landers picked up some 25 prisoners and swept forward without 
serious opposition, reaching their first objective, the Blue Line, 
on scheduled time and 1 just as the grey light of early dawn 
changed to the full white light of day. 

At this point the Battalion halted, in accordance with the 

[1941 



HILL 70 

Operation Order, and effected the arranged changes in disposi 
tions. "A" Coy. moved up and took over the left front from 
"B" Coy., while "D" Coy. reorganized on the right front and 
"C" Coy. carried on with its programme of mopping up. Sim 
ultaneously with these moves, Lieut.-Col. McCuaig arrived up 
and established his Headquarters in the dugout which aerial 
photographs had enabled him to select in advance. A party of 
the enemy were hiding in this dugout, but surrendered when 
called on to do so. Unfortunately, a member of a mopping up 
party of another battalion came along at this moment and, seeing 
the trench full of Germans, opened fire, killing a 13th Battalion 
runner, wounding two signallers and narrowly missing the C.O. 
himself. Curiously, the German prisoners escaped without a 
scratch. 

Following this incident, Lieut.-Col. McCuaig sent a message 
to Major W. E. Macfarlane, his acting Second-in-Command, to 
come forward and bring with him the various liaison officers and 
other Headquarters personnel. This little party, laden down with 
pots, pans, rations and signalling equipment, had a rather adventur 
ous trip up through the barrage, but arrived eventually, after one or 
two of its members had fallen. 

Meanwhile, the position of the Battalion had become decidedly 
uncomfortable. The Blue Line at this point ran along the top 
of the hill and the men could be seen by the German snipers in 
Hugo Trench down the forward slope, also by various observers 
who controlled the fire of the enemy guns. Under these circum 
stances the 40 minute delay to allow the whole attack to reach its 
objectives and reform for the second stage seemed almost endless. 

Shells poured on the line and, to add to the distress, one of the 
covering batteries was firing short and delivering salvo after salvo 
right at the Battalion s centre, where "A" Coy. joined up with "D." 
To avoid this fire, both companies were forced to shift to their 
respective flanks and direct contact was temporarily severed. An 
noying as this fire was, however, casualties from it were easily 
avoided, but there was no escape from the deadly bombardment 
inflicted by the Hun. 

Just at this time, when all ranks were feeling the strain of re 
maining inactive under galling fire and when casualties had mounted 
to over 100, a skirl of the bagpipes was heard and along the 13th 
front came a piper of the 16th, Canadian Scottish. This inspired 

[195] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

individual, eyes blazing with excitement and kilt proudly swinging 
to his measured tread, made his way along the line, piping as only a 
true Highlander can when men are dying, or facing death, all 
around him. Shell fire seemed to increase as the piper progressed 
and more than once it appeared that he was down, but the god of 
brave men was with him in that hour and he disappeared, unharmed, 
to the flank whence he had come. 

At last the 40 minute pause in the Blue Line came to an end 
and the Royal Highlanders were ordered forward to the Green 
objective. As the waves were about to move off, Major Mathevv- 
son, of "B" Coy. discovered that, in addition to Capt. Bennett, "D 
Coy. had lost two subalterns, Lieuts. J. S. Ireland arid A. S. Mac- 
Lean. Lieut. Ireland was seriously wounded, while Lieut. Mac- 
Lean, who had suffered wounds at the Somme in the autumn of 
1916, had gone down this time with injuries that were mortal. This 
left Lieut. J. E. Christie as the only surviving officer of the Com 
pany and, as he was at the extreme left of the line and probably 
quite unaware of what had happened, Mathewson promptly turned 
"B" Coy. over to his second-in-command and himself led "D" 
Coy. forward. 

Between the Blue Line and the Green Line, which was 
their final objective, the men of the 13th encountered stiff op 
position. On the left "A" Coy., under Major Sinclair, pushed 
forward across fairly open country, using such shell holes as were 
available for shelter and beating down the enemy fire as they went. 
At Hugo Trench they met with serious resistance, the enemy gar 
rison fighting stubbornly until the majority were killed or wounded. 
A dozen or so fell unwounded into the hands of the Canadians and 
a somewhat larger number made their escape down Humbug Com 
munication Trench, but as this avenue of retreat brought them again 
under the lash of the British barrage, it is not likely that they reached 
safety. 

Pausing only a few moments in Hugo Trench, which was at 
least eight feet deep and ini excellent condition, Sinclair led "A" 
Coy. on to the Green Line a hundred yards ahead, reporting to 
Battalion Headquarters at 6.05 a.m. that the Line was in his pos 
session and that he was consolidating. What he did not report 
was that he was having a hard time to make his men halt and dig 
in. Their blood was thoroughly up and ahead of them the barrage 
had crashed on Hercules Trench, disturbing a swarm of Huns who 

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HILL 70 

were buzzing about like so many bees. The sight of these individ 
uals was almost more than the men of the 13th could stand. They 
longed to charge with the bayonet and only stern orders forced them 
to be content with seeing the enemy fall under the barrage and rifle 
fire. 

Meanwhile, on the right front "D" Coy., led by Major Mathew- 
son, had advanced through a shattered wood, known as the Bois 
Rase. The Company was considerably under strength as a result 
of the casualties suffered in the Blue Line and the broken under 
brush, some three feet high, rendered the ground ideal for defence, 
nevertheless, the waves pushed steadily on until they approached 
Hugo Trench. Here, as in the case of "A" Coy., the enemy offered 
determined resistance, coming out of their trench, standing- up 
behind it to get a better view, and opening a withering fire. 

With his diminished numbers, Mathewson decided that an at 
tempt to rush the position would be dangerous. Accordingly, he 
ordered the men of "D" Coy. to stalk the enemy, creeping ever 
nearer and nearer, firing all the time and closing in until a rush 
would seem advisable. Although these tactics involved a slight loss 
of time, they succeeded admirably. Noticing that a few of the 
enemy had started to retreat, Mathewson decided that the psycho 
logical moment had arrived and gave the order to charge. Re 
sponding with a yell, the Highlanders plunged forward and took 
the trench with the bayonet, killing or wounding many of the gar 
rison and capturing a round dozen of unwounded prisoners. 

With this position cleared, Mathewson had little trouble in 
advancing to the final, or Green, objective. At 6.10 a.m. he 
reported to Battalion Headquarters that the position was in his 
hands and that he was in communication with Sinclair on the left. 
On receipt of this message, Lieut.-Col. McCuaig and the officers 
at Battalion Headquarters heaved a sigh of relief. The Bois Rase, 
it had been felt, might conceal machine gun nests, or other strong 
points, against which the waves of the attack would beat in vain. 
Now this apprehension had been removed and, despite considerable 
losses, the Battalion was at all points holding its objectives. 
Apparently the Battle of Hill 70 was going well. 

While these events were taking place on the fronts of the attack 
ing companies, the platoons of "C" Coy., under Capt. H. D. Ives, 
were carrying out the arduous duties assigned to them. Lieut. E. 
B. Q. Buchanan was wounded at an early stage of the engagement, 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

while leading his platoon forward to the Blue Line. Lieut. Plante s 
platoon suffered from the German barrage, one section, under an 
N.C.O., being caught by an intense burst of fire and practically 
annihilated. Machine gun fire also caused the platoons of "C" 
Coy. some trouble, especially at one point where a stubbornly fought 
gun continued firing until Lieut. Plante shot down the gunners 
manning it. Meanwhile, Lieut. R. M. Hebden, with No. 10 Platoon, 
accomplished much good work, while No. 11 Platoon, under Sergt- 
Major Morrison, carried out its allotted tasks with courage and 
devotion. From 11 o clock on the morning of the attack until the 
Battalion was relieved on the night of August 16th, "C" Coy. 
was employed in carrying ammunition, burying dead and evacuating 
wounded. In all these tasks, accomplished under heavy fire, the 
conduct of the men was admirable. 

When Major Mathewson had seen "D" Coy. established in the 
Green Line, he returned to the Blue Line and reassumed command 
of his own company, Major Macfarlane, accompanied by Lieut. 
Renahan, proceeding up from Battalion Headquarters and taking 
over "D" Coy. On arrival in the front line, Macfarlane found that 
scattered bodies of the enemy in shell holes were still giving trouble. 
Several stiff little fights ensued before these parties could be over 
come and in one instance Lieut. Christie had a narrow escape when 
a Hun, who had surrendered, suddenly leaped at him with a knife. 
Only the watchfulness of Corp. Macdonnell saved Christie from 
death, or serious injury. Quick as a flash the N.C.O. swung his 
rifle and crashed the butt on the German s head. 

All this time the Green Line was being heavily shelled and 
accordingly Macfarlane, to avoid losses, moved nearly all his ef 
fectives into the outpost line, 200 yards in advance, leaving only a 
skeleton platoon, under Company Sergt.-Major Jones, in the front 
line proper. 

About 11.50 a.m. Sinclair notified Macfarlane that he could see 
a counter-attack massing in Hercules Trench on the latter s im 
mediate front. Macfarlane had already become aware of this 
menace and a few minutes previously had sent notice of it to Bat 
talion Headquarters. Sinclair also reported to Headquarters and 
the latter, as communications further back were cut, forwarded the 
report to 1st Divisional H.Q. by carrier pigeon. 

Apparently this bird, on whose safe arrival depended the lives 
of scores of men, flew swiftly to her destination. Possibly, on the 

[198] 



HILL 70 

other hand, her arrival merely confirmed reports from 
other quarters. Be that as it may, the Canadian artillery received 
news of the danger that threatened and, having made special ar 
rangements for just such a contingency, concentrated a weight of 
gun-fire on Hercules Trench and the Bois Dix Huit and prevented 
the attack from moving forward. At 12.15 p.m. the enemy again 
massed near the Bois Dix Huit and an attack in some strength 
developed. Once more, however, the German effort was withered 
by the blast of shell fire that greeted it. Undeterred by these fail 
ures, the enemy pushed forward another attack at about 1.15 p.m., 
but this, too, was dealt with by the Artillery, assisted by rifle fire 
from the outpost line. 

On Sinclair s left, and practically at right angles to his position, 
ran the Bois Hugo. This wood was rendered untenable by the 
Canadian heavy artillery, so that to launch a counter attack from 
this direction and at the same time avoid a great area of marshy 
ground, which would have impeded his advance, the enemy was 
compelled to make use of a narrow and exposed neck of land. All 
afternoon on the 15th the Germans endeavoured to drive home a 
counter attack from this location. Battalion after battalion was 
seen to march up in column of route and try to deploy under ter 
rific shell fire. As each effort failed the retiring remnants brought 
confusion to those forming up, and the Canadian gunners were 
presented with a target such as they never had before and in all 
probability have never had since. As the guns were well served 
and ammunition plentiful, they took full advantage of the oppor 
tunity and the German losses at this point alone must have been 
staggering. At a later stage it came to the knowledge of the Royal 
Highlanders that the Field Artillery, which gave such wonderful 
support in repulsing the counter-attacks, had been heavily shelled 
with gas and had worked all the time under most trying conditions. 

Meanwhile on "D" Coy s front considerable activity was pre 
vailing. At 3 p.m. Major Miacfarlane found to his anxiety that his 
rifle ammunition was down to 10 rounds per man, even after every 
possible cartridge had been collected from casualties. Finding that 
the officer in command of the company of the 16th Battalion on the 
right flank was facing a similar shortage, he agreed with the latter 
that no further firing should take place, except at close range and 
in the event of a most determined attack. A few minutes later an 
attack developed up Humbug Alley, a communication trench con- 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

necting the Green Line with Hercules Trench. In accordance with 
the agreement, no rifle fire was used to check this attack, No. 14 
Platoon going over to meet the Hun with the bayonet and one sec 
tion, filled with more zeal than discretion, pursuing the defeated 
enemy right back to Hercules trench. 

During some of the enemy counter-attacks the bravery and fear 
lessness of certain small parties of Germans aroused the Hign- 
landers respectful admiration. On one occasion a party of about 
20, led by an officer with a shattered arm, kept right on when the 
attack of which they were part had failed and forced their way into 
the Canadian trenches. It was almost with regret that the High 
landers shot these brave men down, but there was no alternative as 
only a few of them would even consider surrender. 

About 4 o clock in the afternoon a carrying party of "C" Coy. 
arrived at the Green Line with small arm ammunition and the order 
to withhold all rifle fire was accordingly modified. Shelling be 
came less intense as evening drew on and the Germans, for the 
time being, abandoned their counter attacks. The night was spent 
in further consolidation of the front line and in strenuous efforts 
to evacuate the wounded, this work entailing much hardship on the 
supporting companies, as the rear areas, through which all stretcher- 
bearers had to pass, were shelled persistently. During the night 
the 1st Canadian Pioneer Battalion started work on a communication 
trench across the former No Man s Land, but this was not com 
pleted at the time when the 13th stretcher parties were busiest. 

When morning broke on August 16th it seemed that the Hun was 
about to renew his efforts to recapture the ground torn from his 
grasp. At 6 a.m. a small party approached the 13th front and was 
driven off by rifle fire. At 7 a.m. a more determined effort was 
made, apparently with the object of overcoming a block the High 
landers had established in Humbug Alley and thus clearing the 
way for a counter attack in strength from Hercules Trench. When 
this effort was thrown back with appreciable loss, the enemy evi 
dently decided that the game was not worth the candle and no fur 
ther attacks were launched. During all this period the arduous and 
dangerous work of the Battalion Signal Section, under Lance- 
Corp. Hayden, was performed with commendable courage and 
perseverance. 

About 10 a.m. a German officer and two or three men approached 
to within 50 yards of the Highlanders outpost line and were shot 

[200] 



HILL 70 

down by a Lewis gun. Speculation was aroused by the strange 
behaviour of these individuals and, as their advance could hardly 
have been an "attack," it was presumed that they had lost their way 
and wandered unintentionally towards the Canadian line. 

All day on, the 16th, "A" and "D" Companies held the new front, 
suffering considerably from shell fire and exhaustion. "D" Coy. 
was in a particularly bad way and "A" was only relatively better, 
while "B" Coy. in the Blue Line and "C" Coy. and H.Q. in the old 
German front line were harassed sharply by persistent shelling. 
Rest was quite impossible, of course, and the strength of all ranks 
was taxed to the limit. In "D" Coy. the shortage of officers was 
keenly felt. Lieut. Christie did excellently, as did Lieut. Renahan, 
though the latter was really ill and not fit to be on duty. Company 
Sergt. -Major Jones, too, was a tower of strength all during this 
trying day. Just at dark this plucky N.C.O. had an eye put out 
by a flying- piece of shell. Some minutes later Major Macfarlane 
came along and found the wounded man carrying on as usual. 
In the darkness Macfarlane was unaware that Jones was injured 
and discussed with him several matters that concerned the Company. 
Later when Macfarlane discovered that Jones had lost an eye and 
insisted on his retiring, the latter did so only after repeated protests 
and assurances that he was quite fit to carry on. 

During the night the Battalion Chaplain, Capt. E. E. Graham, 
arrived in the Green Line and said that he had come forward to 
bury the dead, as the 13th was to be relieved before morning. A 
rather sharp barrage was falling at the moment, but if the work was 
to be done it must be done immediately and all agreed that it 
behoved them to give their dead such burial as was possible, rather 
than leave the task to strangers. Accordingly all bodies that could 
be found were collected and buried in several large shell holes, the 
padre noting with care the identity of each individual and the loca 
tion of his grave. When this task was finished, Capt. Graham 
removed his steel helmet and recited the lines of the burial service, 
a small group of officers and men standing motionless and bare 
headed while he did so. Thus, in the soil they had captured, with 
enemy shells still bursting overhead, but with their own Regiment 
as mourners, the men of the 13th Royal Highlanders who died in 
the Green Line were left sleeping with Hill 70 well behind them. 



[201] 



CHAPTER XV 

Passchendaele 

British soldier, once again 
You are marshalled on the plain 
By our fathers blood renowned : 
You are treading sacred ground ! 
Harken, harken as you pass, 
To the voices in the grass ! 

LORD GOKEI.L. 



EARLY in the morning on August 17th the companies of the 
13th Battalion were relieved by parts of the 2nd and 3rd 
Battalions and retired to les Brebis, the movement being ac 
complished under a harassing shell fire which caused several 
casualties. In spite of extreme fatigue the stretcher cases were 
brought out at once by carrying parties of "C" Coy. The men of 
all companies were weary and limping along silently when, just at 
daybreak, the red brick houses of their destination came in sight. 
Automatically ranks closed, step was picked up and someone started 
a song. Breakfast was ready when they reached billets, but few 
took the time to eat. Bed on a heap of straw was waiting and 
nothing in all the world seemed quite so desirable. 

With the arrival of the Battalion in billets checking of casualties 
and deficiencies began. The battle had been a success, all objectives 
had been attained, approximately 1500 prisoners captured and heavy 
losses inflicted on the enemy. Such a victory, however, can be pur 
chased only at a price. In the 13th, roll call showed that approx 
imately 40% of those who had gone over with the attack were 
casualties. In addition to losses already mentioned Capt. J. 
Melrose had been wounded, as had Lieut. A. A. McArtney^ and 
Lieut. C. D. Llwyd, while amongst other ranks 34 had been killed, 
34 were missing, probably killed, and 186 wounded. 

After two days of rest at les Brebis the Battalion paraded on the 
afternoon of August 19th and moved to billets at Barlin, proceeding 

[202] 



PASSCHENDAELE 

on the following day to Allouagne, not far from Lillers. Allouagne 
is a name that brings pleasant memories to those officers and men 
of the 13th Battalion who enjoyed its temporary hospitality. After 
the hard fighting at Hill 70 the excellent billets and the opportunity 
for recreation provided just the tonic the men required. The in 
habitants were friendly and of a superior class, so that it was not 
uncommon to see a huge and brawny private acting in the capacity 
of nursemaid, while madame prepared him a tasty meal, or to 
behold a smart N.C.O. with his sleeves rolled up doing his utmost 
to assist a smiling demoiselle with the problem of the week s 
laundry. 

The officers, too, enjoyed themselves immensely and on one 
occasion organized a game of polo, using the Battalion s horses, and 
sticks that some enthusiast found in Lillers. While the form dis 
played was not up to that of international polo, the contest was 
spirited none the less and ended only when all sticks but one had 
been broken. As the tired players guided their equally weary horses 
off the field, they found to their surprise that the Corps Commander 
was amongst the laughing spectators on the side lines. He had 
arrived during the game, but, as his business was not urgent, had 
refused to have play interrupted and had apparently enjoyed the 
fun almost as much as the players themselves. 

One night, too, the officers staged a concert in the local theatre, 
all the talent being drawn from their own roster. By sacrificing his 
moustache, Lieut-Col. McCuaig scored a tremendous hit in a charm 
ing female role, while Capt. A. W. Appleton, the Paymaster, 
distinguished himself as Salome. 

During the fortnight that the 13th remained in Allouagne train 
ing of a routine nature was carried out and on two occasions the 
Battalion paraded for inspection. Major-General A. C. Macdonell 
and Brig.-Gen. G. S. Tuxford reviewed the unit on August 22nd, 
and on August 27th the whole Brigade was honoured by a visit 
from Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. Unfortunately, the 
Commander-in-Chief s inspection was marred by a downpour of 
rain, nevertheless the men made a good showing and Sir Douglas 
expressed his gratification and his pride in what the troops had 
recently accomplished. 

On September 2nd the rest and training period came to an end 
and the Battalion accomplished a long march to the Bouvigny- 
Boyeffles area. Here the billets proved a sharp contrast to those 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

the men had just left, as once more the Battalion was up in the area 
where few houses could boast a roof and four solid walls. 

On the nig-ht of the 3rd the Battalion advanced again and re 
lieved the 49th Canadian Battalion in Cite St. Pierre, moving up 
again on the following night and relieving the 52nd Canadian Bat 
talion in the front line. Three days were spent in this location, 
during which the men of the Battalion were comparatively inactive 
by day and extremely busy by night, large working parties being 
sent forward to assist in the construction of a new front line. This 
whole sector had been badly battered in the August righting, with 
the result that many trenches which appeared on the maps had 
been blown entirely out of existence, or rendered indistinguishable. 
Under these circumstances it was unusually difficult to conduct the 
working parties to the scene of their labours and on many occasions 
much time was lost searching for routes, or communication trenches, 
which seemingly existed only in the imagination of those enthusiasts 
who had prepared the maps. During the tour there was a certain 
amount of shelling and machine gun fire, but casualties were light, 
1 man being killed and 2 wounded. 

Relief took place late on the night of September 7th and the 
Battalion moved back to Marqueffles Farm early on the morning 
of the 8th. Three days were spent here, during which shortages 
were checked, damaged gas helmets replaced and the men given 
an opportunity to bathe. Then, on the night of September 10th, the 
Battalion moved forward once more and occupied billets in Cite St. 
Pierre, as Brigade Reserve. 

On the following night a party of 450 officers and men went 
forward to work on the construction, of the new front line. Ap 
parently the enemy became aware of what was happening, for up 
from his trenches rose a signal rocket to which his artillery re 
sponded with heavy shelling. The Canadian Artillery endeavoured 
to check this fire, but could not do so in time to protect the party 
of the 13th, which suffered sharply, among the casualties being 
Lieuts. J. M. Morphy and L. C. Monkman, both severely wounded. 
In spite of his injuries, Lieut. Monkman did excellent work in get 
ting his men under cover and set a splendid example of coolness 
in a sudden emergency. Lieut. Morphy s injuries were more serious 
and he died after being removed to hospital. By his death the 13th 
lost a most promising and capable officer. 

Shelling continued to be brisk for the next four days and the 

[204] 



PASSCHENDAELE 

ration parties of the 13th had trying times, as the dumps from 
which they drew supplies seemed to be the Hun s choicest targets. 
Casualties during this period mounted to a total of 22, five killed 
and 17 wounded. 

On the night of September 16th the Royal Highlanders moved 
from reserve into support, but as the support billets were also in 
Cite St. Pierre, the move was short. Here six days were spent, 
artillery activity rendering difficult the task of the large working 
parties, 450 to 500 strong, which toiled nightly at the construction 
of the new front line. The back areas also received their full 
share of shell fire and ration parties had a rather nasty time, while 
one runner, who was delivering a message to Brigade H.Q., was 
hurled from his bicycle and had a leg blown off by the burst of a 
heavy shell. 

Heavy shelling occurred at dawn on the 21st, the straffe spread 
ing rapidly until it assumed the proportions of a general engage 
ment. For an hour the 13th "stood to" awaiting developments, but 
eventually matters quieted down and news was received that the 
Germans had attempted a big raid somewhat to the right and had 
been driven off. 

After dusk on the night of September 22nd, the 13th was relieved 
by the 9th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment. Quiet prevailed 
during the movement and the Highlanders reached billets in the 
Coupigny Huts without incurring losses. Casualties during the 
whole tour were 2 killed and 16 wounded. 

All morning on the 23rd the Battalion Transport was busy mov 
ing stores and equipment from Sains-en-Gohelle to Gauchin-Legal, 
the Battalion proper marching to the latter place during the after 
noon. Here the Highlanders spent twelve days, carrying out a 
programme of training, with special classes for N.C.O s., directed 
by Lieut. Carstairs, Battalion Sergt.-Major Butler, Sergt.-Major 
Evans and Sergt. Stone. During this period, too, much time was 
devoted to gas drills. Lectures on various phases of this subject 
were delivered and all box respirators tested and, where necessary, 
renewed. In his eagerness to accustom the men to wearing the hel 
mets, the Gas N.C.O. on one occasion ordered a route march of the 
men of "A" Coy. at 8 p.m., his idea being that a march in the dark 
with helmets on would provide realistic practice. Unfortunately, the 
men refused to take this experiment seriously and the parade de 
generated more or less into a game of "Blind Man s Buff," the 

[205] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

troops, like overgrown children, enjoying hugely both their own 
horse play and the efforts of the distracted N.C.O. to restore some 
semblance of order. 

On October 4th the Battalion paraded at 1 p.m. and marched 
from Gauchin-Legal, via Estree-Cauchie, to familiar huts at 
Chateau de la Haie. Rain poured during this march, consequently 
the troops found the camp at their destination in a fearful state of 
mud. There being no attraction outside, the majority of the men 
retired as soon as possible, though a few of the more enterprising 
visited Petit Servins to see some of their old friends and 
acquaintances. 

Next morning the Battalion moved again, marching to Souchez 
Huts in Zouave Valley. Here the remainder of the day was spent 
and at night the unit moved up to relieve elements of the 46th, 
47th and 50th Canadian Battalions in the front line, Headquarters 
being situated at a point midway between the villages of Givenchy 
and la Coulotte. 

Mud was the feature of the five days that followed. Shelling 
was not heavy and the enemy was otherwise inactive, but rain fell 
steadily and the trenches were soon knee deep in mud and water, 
this necessitating the calling out of large working parties every 
night and on several occasions in the daytime. Fuel was scarce 
and dry clothing almost unobtainable, so it was without regret that 
the Battalion received orders to hand over the area to the 15th 
Battalion on the night of October 10th. This relief was accom 
plished without incident, and the Highlanders retired to a position 
on the so-called Red Line, sending out working parties on the two 
following days and withdrawing again on the night of the 13th to 
take over from the 4th Battalion of the Leicesters at the old billets 
in Souchez Huts. A day only was spent here, the Highlanders 
moving on the afternoon of the 14th to Estree-Cauchie, where they 
spent a week in training of a routine nature, the only outstanding 
incident being a review at Verdrel, by the Commander of the First 
Army, General Sir H. S. Home. 

II 

During October Sir Douglas Haig selected the Canadian Corps 
as the instrument with which he would bring to a close the great 
battle that had been raging at Ypres for many weeks. The German 
Army was flushed with victory at this time, as the result of triumphs 

[206] 



PASSCHENDAELE 

in Russia and Italy. The French Army, on the other hand, was for 
the first time showing signs of lowered morale, accordingly for 
political as well as strategic reasons, a striking British success was 
desirable. 

Every effort had been made to achieve this success and some of 
the finest Corps in the British Army had been flung into the Ypres 
battle, with the result that the German line had been driven back 
for a considerable distance. Passchendaele Ridge, however, had up 
to this time defied all efforts to capture it, and several large scale 
operations against it had been bloodily repulsed. Realizing that the 
season for operations was fast drawing to a close and that, in 
consequence, he must succeed in his next effort, or admit definite 
failure, Sir Douglas Haig laid his plans with the greatest care. 
Under these circumstances he paid a splendid tribute to the Cana 
dian Corps in selecting it to act as the spear head of his assault and 
summoning it from the Lens district for the purpose. 

So far as the 13th Battalion was concerned, the move to the 
scene of the new operations began on October 20th, when the unit 
marched from Estree-Cauchie to Bruay. Continuing the march on 
the following day, the Highlanders passed through the familiar 
towns of Marles-les-Miines, Allouagne and Lillers and billeted for 
the night in Manqueville. Boeseghem proved to be their destina 
tion on the 22nd and on the 23rd they reached Hondeghem, a few 
miles from Hazebrouck. Reveille sounded at 3 a.m. on the 24th 
and the Battalion paraded in time to reach the church at Staple by 
6 o clock. Here busses were waiting, and the men were conveyed, 
via Fletre, Caestre, Bailleul, Locre and Kemmel, to a position on 
the outskirts of Ypres. 

It was not without deep feeling that the veterans of 1915 and 
1916 surveyed the country through which the route led. Fletre re 
called their earliest days in France, while Ypres brought to mind a 
thousand memories of the splendid men of the Battalion who had 
laid down their lives in the shadow of its walls. 

Leaving the busses at the head of the road which leads to Dicke- 
busch, the Royal Highlanders halted to await further orders. About 
2.30 p.m. they proceeded through Ypres in single file, then north 
along the Canal bank and eastwards to a position in a field about half 
way between Ypres and St. Jean. No billets were available at this 
spot, but canvas bivouacs were rigged up and in these the men 
settled down for the night, obtaining some shelter from the driving 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

rain. Had fires been permitted, they might have cooked themselves 
a hot meal, but these were strictly forbidden, owing to the fact that 
German bombing planes came over every night and it was not 
advisable to assist them in discovering their target. 

After a miserable night, during which rain continued and most 
of the bivouacs were flooded, the men of the Battalion spent the 
day in drawing off the surface water and in cleaning their equip 
ment. At night German planes came over and bombed the roads 
and rear areas on a scale such as the men of the 13th had never 
previously witnessed. Starting soon after 9 p.m., these raids con 
tinued at intervals throughout the night, but fortunately for the 
Highlanders, their canvas bivouacs were not the object of the 
enemy s attention. 

Early on the morning of October 26th the first stage of the 
operations against Passchendaele began, when, in conjunction with 
a British and French offensive, the 3rd and 4th Canadian Divisions 
advanced against the Bellevue Spur. Rain poured during the day 
and the fighting in the resultant mud was unbelievably bitter, never 
theless the attacking troops attained their objectives and brought 
the Spur into British hands. 

While the Royal Highlanders took no part in the actual attack, 
they were of necessity involved in its ramifications. At 2 a.m. on 
the 26th a working party, consisting of practically every available 
man in the unit, reported at Spree Dump and there obtained ma 
terials to relay and repair a corduroy road, the sole route by which 
supplies could be sent into the forward area. That night parties, 
totalling 400, were again employed on the corduroy road, which 
was constantly being torn to pieces by shelling and the great volume 
of traffic which flowed over it. Much work, too, was done in the 
neighbourhood of the camp on the Ypres-St. Jean Road, where 
drainage ditches were dug and a hut built to take the place of an 

orderly room. 

Working parties continued on the following day and the whole 
Battalion was employed in regular eight hour shifts. On the morn 
ing of the 28th the camp was thoroughly cleaned up and handed 
over to the 15th Battalion, the men of the 13th marching back by 
platoons to Kruisstraat Dump, whence busses conveyed them, via 
Vlamertinghe and Abeele, to Steenvoorde, thence over the hill 
through Cassel and on to a point about two miles from Staple. 

At dawn on October 31st the second stage of the battle for 

[208] 




MARCHING BACK TO REST BILLETS AFTER THE CAPTURE OF 
HILL 70. AUGUST, 1917. 

Canadian Official, Copyright. 




MARCHING FROM HILL 70, AUGUST, 1917. 

Canadian Official, Copyright. 



PASSCHENDAELE 

Passchendaele began and the Canadian line was pushed forward 
for 1200 yards on a front of 3000 yards. No mere recital of yards 
gained, or prisoners captured, can convey any idea of the task 
accomplished. The mud was appalling and the fighting for every 
foot of ground was so bitter as quite to defy description. Men died 
by the score to capture a miserable concrete "pill box," only to have 
their comrades find that somewhere in the awful mud ahead lay 
other "pill boxes" which resolutely blocked the way to victory. No 
praise is too high for the courage of the men, who, at terrible cost, 
pounded these miniature fortresses into submission, nor, indeed, 
for that of the German garrisons, who fought until the last possible 
moment and, in nine cases out of ten, died fighting rather than yield. 

On November 6th the final stage of the operation was under 
taken. By this time the weary 3rd and 4th Divisions had been 
replaced by the 1st and 2nd Divisions and it was these fresh troops 
who swept over the crest of the Ridge, through Passchendaele itself 
and down the slopes beyond. Once again the Canadian Corps had 
been called on to accomplish a hard task and had not failed, though 
the victory cost the four Divisions a casualty list that was appalling. 
Small wonder that in Canada, as elsewhere throughout the Empire, 
the Ypres Salient is looked on as a place both sacred and accursed. 

While the 13th Battalion was not used in any of the actual 
assaults at Passchendaele, the work of the unit throughout the whole 
series of operations was arduous in the extreme and was not ac 
complished without losses. At 1.30 o clock on the morning of 
October 31st a runner from Brigade Headquarters reported at the 
Battalion Orderly Room, at Staple, with orders for the unit to 
entrain at Ebblinghem, two and a half miles away, at 6 a.m. Run 
ners were immediately despatched to the billets of the various 
companies, but, as these were widely scattered, it was nearly 3 
o clock before all had received their orders. Parading at 4 a.m., 
without waiting for breakfast, the unit marched to Ebblinghem and 
entrained at the appointed time, only to have the train wait for 
over an hour before moving off. 

At noon the train reached Ypres Station and the platoons of the 
13th, marching in Indian file, proceeded through the town and up 
Infantry Track No. 5 to the crest of the hill at Wieltje, where a 
halt was called and the companies each given a section of ground 
in which they were told to make themselves as comfortable as 
possible. 

[209] 

14 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

On reaching this forward area the men of the Battalion soon 
found that aerial activity, which had been so marked a feature of 
their previous tour, was still prevailing. Hardly had they arrived 
when a British plane crashed down in the midst of them, the pilot 
and observer having been killed in a battle somewhere far above 
their heads. Shortly afterwards a huge Gotha bomber, escorted by 
eleven smaller planes, sailed majestically over the 13th lines, dropped 
a bomb, which killed two men, and then proceeded to spread death 
and destruction in the camps between W ieltje and Ypres. That 
night little sleep could be had, owing to the frequency with which 
enemy planes bombed the area, though, fortunately for the 13th, 
the majority of the raiders concentrated their attention on the roads 
and camps nearer Ypres. 

Early on the morning of November 1st shelling became trouble 
some, two men being killed and two wounded when a 5.9 scored 
a direct hit on a shallow dugout in "C" Coy s, area. Shortly after 
2 o clock in the afternoon the Battalion left the position at Wieltje 
and moved up, via No. 5 Infantry Track, to Pommern Castle, which, 
despite its aristocratic name, was only a captured "pill box." Shell 
ing was brisk during this move and the Battalion suffered 10 
casualties, a sergeant being killed and nine other ranks severely 
wounded. That casualties were not more numerous was fortunate, 
as the watery mud made it impossible for the troops to leave the 
narrow "bath-mat" track, of whose existence and exact location 
the enemy was well aware. 

On reaching their destination, the men of the 13th took shelter 
in such shallow dugouts as were available ; in "pill boxes," of which 
there were several, and in some cases under derelict tanks. These 
provided reasonably good protection from enemy artillery fire, which 
continued all night. 

Dull and misty weather prevailed on the following day, a con 
dition welcome to the troops, as it freed them from aerial observa 
tion and served to limit the enemy s bombing raids. Large working 
parties were employed throughout the day in carrying "bath-mats" 
and using these to repair No. 5 Infantry Track. The mud was as 
bad as ever and progress was slow in consequence, but, as the work 
was of vital importance, all ranks put their hearts into it and much 
was accomplished. On returning from a working party one small 
group of men bivouacked under a stranded tank and were filled with 

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PASSCHENDAELE 

indignation when a salvage party from the Tanks Corps effected 
some repairs and, cranking up, drove their shelter away. 

On November 3rd the Battalion furnished working parties in the 
morning, moving forward in the afternoon to Abraham Heights, 
where Headquarters was established in a large concrete "pill box" 
at Otto Farm. Numerous batteries had their gun pits near this 
farm and the enemy artillery, in searching for the guns, shelled the 
whole area freely. In contrast to this, the areas further forward 
in which the companies were situated, were not shelled nearly so 
briskly. At 11 p.m. "D" Coy. moved up into close support and 
passed for the time being under the command of the 16th Canadian 
Battalion, with Headquarters at Bellevue. 

Artillery was active on the 4th of the month and in the afternoon 
a high velocity gun, directed by an aeroplane, shelled the area in 
which the 13th Battalion Transport Lines had been established. 
This same gun, or one of a similar type, opened again at 11 p.m. 
and caused a good deal of damage. The first two shells failed to 
detonate, but the third scored a direct hit on an ammunition dump, 
which exploded with a terrific roar and hurled fragments of steel 
in all directions. Fortunately, the two shells that did not explode 
had given a warning and many of the troops had vacated their 
canvas bivouacs to take shelter in nearby dugouts. Serious casual 
ties were avoided in this manner, though Lieut. Plante and Corp. 
Cowan received painful injuries of a minor nature. Damage to 
material was considerable. The Canteen was completely wrecked 
and havoc was created amongst the officers kits piled nearby, some 
garments of an intimate nature being later recovered from the 
position they were jauntily holding in the branches of a neighbour 
ing tree. 

Meanwhile, forward at Abraham Heights, the main body of the 
Battalion remained in support. Early in the evening "A" Coy. 
moved forward and joined "D" Coy. in close support. Many dead 
were passed by "A" Coy. during the move, among these being a 
number from the 42nd Royal Highlanders, the Sister Unit to the 
13th having lost heavily in the gallant assault which captured the 
Bellevue Spur. 

On November 5th the Battalion experienced heavy shelling and 
suffered appreciably. Late in the afternoon the companies moved 
back to Pommern Castle. Grim evidence of the heavy bombard 
ment that had occurred were to be seen all along the route. In 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

many places the Infantry Track itself was damaged, while every 
where were strewn the dead of the battalions which had pushed 
forward. 

Halting at Pommern Castle, the 13th awaited orders for some 
hours, moving back when these were issued at 1.30 a.m. to a 
position near Wieltje. Enemy bombing planes were active in this 
neighbourhood in the hours that preceded dawn, but the men of 
the Battalion were tired and, as the bombs did not strike their par 
ticular area, they gave them little attention. 

The weather was dull and poor for observation on November 
6th, a comforting state of affairs to the Royal Highlanders, who 
spent the day at Wieltje, resting and preparing for another move 
forward to relieve the troops who had finally captured Passchenclaele 
and the Ridge. 

About noon on the 7th this move began, the companies following 
No. 6 Infantry Track to the vicinity of Gravenstafel Ridge, whence, 
after a halt of several hours, they moved up towards the left sector 
of the front line. Little information was available as to the best 
route forward, but Lieut.-Col. McCuaig decided to proceed along 
Track 6 and sent Lieut. P. E. Corbett ahead to reconnoitre. Later 
this officer met the head of the Battalion with the information that 
it would be necessary to proceed south across country to Graven 
stafel Cross Roads. As there was no help for it, the men left 
the Track and floundered through the mud to the point mentioned. 
From here the distance to the front line was about a mile, but 
progress was rendered extremely slow by the fact that the road up, 
the only one available, was packed with troops, not only of the 13th 
Battalion, but of the 14th and of two battalions of the 1st British 
Division, which had to use the same road to reach the Canadians 
left. Two anxious hours were consumed in advancing that one 
mile, anxious because of the fact that the troops could not advance 
except by the road, while many dead bodies strewn about warned 
them that the Germans had marked the route down and might shell 
it at any moment. No such disaster occurred, however, and the 
Battalion reached the front safely, but in a thoroughly exhausted 
condition. 

On reaching the front line, it was found that accommodation was 
very limited, a state of affairs which, in the event of heavy shelling, 
would mean serious casualties. In consequence, it was considered 

[212| 



PASSCHENDAELE 

advisable to hold the line with less strength and a number of men 
were sent back to the Transport Lines. 

The front line at this point was in bad shape and bore eloquent 
testimony to the bitter fighting which it had recently witnessed. 
The mud was in many places waist deep, torn and twisted wire lay 
everywhere, water filled shell holes were numerous, while all about 
lay the bodies of the dead, the whole area presenting a picture of 
desolation and horror hard to equal and impossible to surpass. 

Little could be done by the men in the front line during the one 
day that the Battalion held this position, but the support companies 
assisted in the task of evacuating the endless stream of wounded. 
Herculean efforts were required in this work, as the appalling mud 
was worse than the Canadians, with all their varied experience of 
mud, had ever encountered before. 

The artillery on both sides was active during the afternoon, 
consequently all those whose duties permitted were ordered to keep 
under cover as much as possible. Towards evening" the shell fire, 
which had assumed barrage intensity, moderated, a fortunate mat 
ter, as the 13th was being relieved by the 8th Canadian Battalion. 
On completion of relief, the Royal Highlanders moved back, via 
Wieltje, to the camp near St. Jean. 

Here two days were spent in comparative inactivity. Aerial 
bombing continued to be an unpleasant feature and several men 
were killed in the next battalion, but the 13th escaped without losses. 
Rain poured during the two days, until the camp became a veritable 
swamp and the troops assumed the appearance of having lived in 
mud all their lives. Under these circumstances, the pleasure the men 
derived from a visit to the baths was even keener than usual, in spite 
of the fact that on this occasion no change of underclothing was 
available. 

Starting at 12.30 p.m. on November llth the companies of the 
13th moved away from St. Jean, followed Infantry Track No. 6 
to the bank of the Ypres Canal, thence through Ypres itself to the 
Station. Several narrow escapes were experienced in passing 
through the town, as the enemy was shelling the ruins with per 
sistence. No actual misadventures occurred, however, and the 
Battalion entrained at 2.30 p.m., reaching Derby Camp, near 
Brandhoek, before dark. 

So far as the 13th was concerned, the period in camp at St. Jean 
brought the series of tours in the Ypres Salient to an end. The 

[213] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Canadian Corps had been brought to the Salient for a very definite 
purpose to attack and capture Passchendaele Ridge. This purpose 
had been accomplished and the Corps was about to move back to the 
Lens area, whence it had come. It was without regret that the 
men bade the Salient good-bye. Although he spoke for himself 
alone, one veteran, who had fought at Ypres in 1915, in 1916 and 
again in 1917, voiced a sentiment that was shared by all, "I hope 
to God," said he, "that I never see the cursed place again !" 



[214] 






CHAPTER XVI 

The Third Winter in France 

But No Man s Land is a goblin sight 
When patrols crawl over at dead o night. 



When the "rapid," like fireflies in the dark, 

Flits down the parapet spark by spark, 

And you drop for cover to keep your head 

With your face on the breast of the four months dead. 

JAMES H. KNIGHT-ADKIN. 

AT noon on November 12th the Royal Highlanders climbed 
into a long line of motor busses which whirled them to 
Merville, passing through Ouderdom and Bailleul on the 
way. At Merville the men got out and marched some two kilo 
metres to Neuf Berquin, reaching this spot at about 6 p.m. 
Returning 1 to Merville on the following" morning, the men again 
took busses and enjoyed a two hour run to Bethune, where they 
were to remain over night. As they had plenty of time at their 
disposal, they were instructed to clean up and be properly dressed 
with kilt, belt etc., before visiting the town. Another bus journey 
took place on November 14th, the route on this occasion passing 
through Noeux-les-Mines and Bracquemont and terminating at 
Noulette Huts, in the Hersin-Coupigny area. 

Two days were spent in this position and at 4.30 p.m. on 
November 16th the Battalion moved up to relieve the 2/Sth South 
Staffordshire Regiment in support, Headquarters, with "A" 
and "D" Companies, being stationed in Red Trench, "C" Coy. at 
Givenchy-en-Gohelle and "B" Coy. in a trench across the Lens- 
Arras Road. Relief .was completed about 1 a.m. Moving 1 up again 
twenty-four hours later, the 13th took over the right front line, 
Avion-Lens Sector, from the 2/6 South Staffordshire Regiment, 
"C" and "B" Companies occupying the front line proper, with "D" 
Coy. in support and "A" Coy. in reserve. 

For eight days the Battalion held this front. Inter-company 
reliefs occurred on the night of November 21st and an extension 

[215] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

of the line to the right on the night of the 23rd. Owing to the 
nature of the front, which consisted largely of semi-detached strong 
posts, communication patrols were busy at night, while, in view of 
the battle which Sir Julian Byng was waging with the Third Army 
at Cambrai, other patrols were out constantly to obtain immediate 
information should the enemy start to retire. 

Considerable rain fell during the tour and this, of course, neces 
sitated working parties to keep the trenches in a reasonable state of 
repair. The enemy artillery was comparatively inactive, but his 
trench mortars kept up a troublesome bombardment, which cost the 
13th a price. Particularly was this the case on November 24th, 
when a working party of "C" Coy. was badly caught and had 11 
men killed and 3 severely wounded. In this instance the party saw 
the projectile coming and attempted to escape down the narrow 
trench, but without success. On the same date "D" Coy. had 3 
men killed and 1 wounded by a Minenwerfer which struck in the 
front line. With a total of 14 killed, this day was the most 
unfortunate the Battalion had experienced for some time. 

Relief occurred on the following evening and the 13th marched 
back to la Coulotte, entraining there and reaching Alberta Camp 
about 10 p.m. Here the Battalion remained until December 2nd, 
resting, cleaning equipment and training. On November 27th the 
baths at Carency were allotted to the 13th and the men also re 
ceived a change of underclothing. Following the bathing parade all 
N.C.O s. and men marched to the Q.M. Stores and exchanged the 
kilt and hose tops for trousers and puttees in preparation for the 
winter. This equipment was thoroughly inspected on the 28th and 
on the same day all men with damaged boots were paraded to the 
Battalion Shoemaker to have them repaired. 

No parades were called on the 29th, but during the day all ranks, 
under special arrangements, polled votes for candidates in the 
General Election which was taking place in Canada. Apart from 
this novel experience, the chief event of the Battalion s stay oc 
curred on December 1st when a working party, consisting of 7 
officers and 400 other ranks, under command of Major J. Jeffery, 
proceeded to the forward area to bury cable. This party, having 
accomplished good work, returned to camp at 10 p.m. On the 
following day the Battalion moved to Gouy Servins. 

In the early part of December, 1917, Lieut. -Col. G. E. McCuaig, 
D.S.O. left the 13th Battalion at Gouy Servins and proceeded on 

[216] 



THE THIRD WINTER IN FRANCE 

several months leave to Canada. All parades were cancelled on the 
morning of his departure, as officers and men were anxious to give 
him a send-off that would leave no doubt as to the place he held 
in their esteem. Lining the road along which his car would pass, 
the men waited till he made his appearance and cheered him until out 
of sight. On his departure temporary command of the Battalion 
passed to Major K. M. Perry, D.S.O., but, as the latter was attend 
ing the Senior Officers" School at the time, Major J. Jeffery, M.C. 
took over his duties. 

For a week after McCuaig s departure the Battalion remained 
at Gouy Servins, moving up on the night of December llth and 
taking over the Right Sub-Section (Lens Sector) of the front line 
from the 5th Canadian Battalion. 

The tour that followed lasted four days and was by no means 
uneventful. At the very beginning the Battalion nearly lost its 
Officer Commanding when a "pine-apple" fell within three feet of 
Major Jeffery and killed the man to whom he was speaking. 
Another incident occurred early in the tour when Lieut. J. B. 
Beddome, the Intelligence Officer, turned out a patrol with the in 
tention of harassing an enemy post. So excellently did this patrol 
conduct its little operation that Lieut. Beddome received the con 
gratulations of the 3rd Brigade Staff. 

Then, early in the morning of December 13th, a special company 
of the Royal Engineers projected 600 drums of gas into the enemy 
line from a point in the Highlanders trenches. This operation 
required careful preparation. For example, notice of whether the 
operation would take place or not had to be given to all troops 
concerned some three hours before "zero," so that such posts as 
would be endangered by a slight change in the wind could be with 
drawn to a place of safety. It was not considered advisable to write 
or telephone these messages, so a code was arranged in advance. 
Thus, if an officer received a message consisting of the single word 
"Elm," he knew that conditions for the projection were considered 
favourable. If his message was "Spruce" it informed him that 
conditions were unfavourable and that his troops, in consequence, 
could be moved back to the posts from which they had been with 
drawn. When he received the message "Oak" it meant that the 
attack was over and that the gas was no longer a source of danger. 
He then had to decide whether immediate re-occupation of his posts 
was advisable, considering the amount of daylight prevailing 

[217] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OP CANADA 

In retaliation for this projection of gas the enemy bombarded 
the Highlanders front with trench mortars and, in retaliation for 
the retaliation, the Canadian artillery put on a heavy "shoot" with 
gims of all calibres. So things continued up to the night of the 
15th when the Battalion moved back to the support area at Lievin. 

After four days in support, during which all available men \vere 
employed on working parties, the 13th moved up to the front line 
once more. Heavy artillery fire and concentrated "shoots" were 
the features of the next four days, some of these being carried out 
by guns of all calibres and some by light and heavy Trench Mortars. 
All these "shoots" involved work on the part of the Infantry, as in 
most cases troops had to be withdrawn from exposed positions, 
while, even when this was not necessary, the enemy retaliation 
usually smashed down some trenches which had to be repaired. 

Apart from the work of the trench mortars and artillery, the 
tour was marked by activity of the Battalion s snipers and machine 
gunners. One foggy morning the mist lifted momentarily and dis 
closed a party of 12 Germans at work on a slag heap, known as the 
Green Grassier. "D" Company s gunners promptly opened fire on 
these individuals, killing one outright and apparently wounding 
several others. Later a sniper picked off a Hun who was firing 
from a window in a ruined building and still later another party of 
Germans was discovered on the Green Grassier, two being killed 
without a doubt and three others wounded, according to the claim 
of the Highlanders machine gun crew. 

At 8.45 p.m. on December 23rd the 13th was relieved by the 
P.P.C.L.I. and moved back to billets in Gouy Servins. Here the 
Royal Highlanders celebrated their fourth Christmas on active ser 
vice and their third in France. Christmas Day, so far as the 
weather was concerned, was typical of many the men had passed at 
home in Canada. Snow had fallen a day or two before and this, 
combined with bright sunshine and sharp frost, rendered the whole 
countryside very clean looking and attractive. Only the forlorn 
billets, some of which lacked roofs and others walls, served to re 
mind the men that they were not in Canada, but in a less happy 
land, much of whose soil was still under the foot of a foreign 
invader. 

On account of the cold weather and to distinguish the day, an 
issue of rum was served to the men first thing in the morning. 
After breakfast voluntary church parades were held and Holy 

[218] 



THE THIRD WINTER IN FRANCE 

Communion was celebrated for all who desired to attend. For the 
Roman Catholics Mass was celebrated in the Village Church. 

The men had a light lunch at noon and sat down to Christmas 
dinner at 4.30 p.m. Officers visited their men during dinner, ex 
changing good wishes and joining in the expressions of hope that 
the next Christmas would be spent under happier circumstances. 
All ranks then proceeded to celebrate the evening as joyously as pos 
sible. On the following evening the Warrant Officers, Staff 
Sergeants and Sergeants held a dinner of their own. Many of the 
officers attended this merry party, which brought to a close in a 
fitting manner the Battalion s Christmas celebrations. 

Owing to a thaw, the billets at Gouy Servins became unin 
habitable and the 13th moved to Petit Servins for New Year. 
Lieut-Col. Perry rejoined the Battalion on the day this move oc 
curred and took over the command which had been held in his 
absence by Major Jeffery. 

New Year s celebrations were not as elaborate as those at 
Christmas, nevertheless the senior officers, viewing the unit with a 
kindly eye on the morning after New Year s Eve, decided that a 
sharp route march in the keen, fresh air would do the men more 
good than the regular training. The afternoon was given over to 
games. 

During January the Battalion remained in billets behind the 
lines and carried out a programme of training. The first week 
of the New Year was spent at Petit Servins, the period from the 
7th to 23rd at Houdain and the final week at Bracquemont. 

At Houdain a newly organized unit, the Tump Line Section, 
was given a great deal of training, while the companies and all 
specialists, such as the Lewis Gun Section, the Intelligence Section, 
the Rifle Grenadiers, the Communication Section, the Signallers and 
Bandsmen, worked hard to perfect themselves in their respective 
spheres. 

On January 12th all ranks were pleased by the announcement 
that the Battalion Chaplain, Hon. Capt. E. E. Graham, and Capt. A. 
S. Plante had been awarded the Military Cross, while Major F. S. 
Mathewson and Sergt. -Major Butler had been Mentioned in Des 
patches" for valuable services rendered. Two days later it was 
announced that the Distinguished Conduct Medal had been awarded 
to Company Sergt.-Major Evans, "B" Coy., whose work had been 
of an extremely creditable nature. 

[219] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Competitions of various kinds were numerous during the month. 
On January 13th the four battalions of the 3rd Brigade each en 
tered a platoon in a contest on a basis of 30 points for smartness of 
appearance, 60 points for way platoon commander disposes of his 
platoon so as to bring maximum fire on enemy, 120 points for 
method of advance and of covering advance by fire, 60 points for 
handling of Lewis Gun Section, and finally a rifle match in which 
one-quarter of a point was scored for every target hit and three 
points deducted for every target missed. In this competition the 
platoon from "B" Coy. of the 13th, commanded by Lieut. A. N. 
Sclater, led in each of the first four phases, only to fail dismally 
in the shooting, and to drop in consequence to third place in the 
competition as a whole. Under the supervision of Major Jeffery, 
strenuous measures were immediately taken to correct in the whole 
Battalion the weakness in shooting- which the platoon competition 
had shown up so glaringly. 

As an offset to the defeat in the platoon competition, the Battalion 
Transport scored 291 points out of a possible 300 in a Brigade 
contest, leading the other entrants by a comfortable margin and 
winning on the score sheet the only "excellent" that was granted. 
By this victory the 13th retained the whip presented by the G.O.C. 
the Division and symbolic of Transport supremacy. 

Sports of one kind and another occupied much of the men s 
spare time. On January 19th the officers played the other ranks at 
football and won by a narrow margin. A week later that Battalion 
football team played against the team of the sister unit, the 42nd 
Royal Highlanders of Canada, and lost a keenly contested game 
1-0. On several occasions during the month the Battalion concert 
party, the "Red Hackles," entertained officers, men and a limited 
number of guests with excellent vaudeville performances. The 
audience enjoyed the shows immensely and the applause was loud 
and insistent, the performers acknowledging the tributes by many 
clever encores. 

About the 20th of the month the Pioneers of the Battalion began 
to paint the men s steel helmets, a gentle reminder that the period 
behind the lines was drawing to a close. When the Battalion 
marched on January 23rd, however, it was not to the front, but to 
Bracquemont, where another week was spent in training. During 
the march the Battalion was inspected by the Corps and Divisional 

[220] 



THE THIRD WINTER IN FRANCE 

Commanders, "C" Coy. receiving- General Currie s compliments for 
its smart appearance and march discipline. 

On the night of January 31st the 13th Battalion relieved the 8th 
Canadian Battalion, which was acting- as Brigade Reserve, in the 
Hill 70 Sector. The Royal Highlanders, for this relief, were 
divided into two parts, "A" and "D" Companies taking over billets 
in Loos, while "B" and "C" Companies and Headquarters moved 
to Mazingarbe. During the week that followed working parties 
were supplied with unfailing regularity at night, these on each oc 
casion totalling approximately 8 officers and 315 men. Their work 
consisted of digging and wiring a series of new trenches and widen 
ing, or otherwise improving", trenches that already existed. Lieut. 
T. B. D. Tudball and two other ranks were wounded during the 
tour. 

On the night of February 7th the Royal Highlanders relieved the 
Royal Montreal Regiment in the Right Sub-Section, Hill 70 Sector, 
of the front line, "A" Coy. taking over the right front and "D" 
Coy. the left front, while "B" Coy. and "C" Coy. moved into right 
and left support. Considerable machine gun and trench mortar 
fire prevailed during the relief, 2 men being killed and 4 wounded 
near "D" Coy s. Headquarters. The next four days were marked 
by activity on the part of the enemy s artillery and trench mortars. 
Machine gun fire was also brisk, but, though narrow escapes were 
many, casualties totalled only four or five slightly wounded. Inter 
company reliefs took place on the night of the llth, "B" and "C" 
Companies relieving "A" and "D" Companies, while a patrol, con 
sisting of one N.C.O. and five O.R. lay out in No Man s Land to 
cover the movement. Company commanders were instructed to 
warn their men that this patrol was out and to notify Battalion 
Headquarters that relief was complete by use of the code word 
"Helen." 

During the tour in the front line the 13th Battalion, in con 
junction with the 14th Battalion, planned a raid on the enemy s 
trenches, the object being, as stated in the Special Operation Order, 
"to secure identifications, to kill Huns and to destroy dugouts and 
gun emplacements." In the same Order, Lieut. J. Young and Lieut. 
D. L. Carstairs were named to accompany the expedition, which, 
so far as the 13th party was concerned, was to consist of 5 N.C.O s. 
and 35 other ranks. The 14th Battalion party was to raid the 

[221] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

enemy front at a point somewhat to the south and it was hoped 
that the two parties would effect a junction in the enemy lines. 

In elaboration of the general plan, the raiders of the 13th were 
sub-divided into four minor parties, "A" "B," "C" and "D," and 
each was carefully instructed in its particular role. Bayonets and 
buttons were dulled and faces blackened, lest some unexpected flash 
of light should betray the party and warn the Germans of what was 
coming. Strict orders were issued that casualties were in no case 
to be abandoned, but, whether dead or wounded, were to be brought 
back to the Canadian lines. As a further precaution against the 
enemy securing identifications, officers and men were ordered to 
remove all badges and colours and all pencilled numerals on steel 
helmets, clothing, tunics and equipment. Private correspondence 
was also ordered removed and each man warned that, if by mis 
chance he were taken prisoner, the only information the enemy could 
legitimately demand was his name, rank and regimental number. 

During the night of February 12th Lieut. P. E. Corbett and a 
party from the Battalion Intelligence Section laid guiding tapes for 
the raiding party to a gap in the enemy wire, which had been cut 
by the Canadian Trench Mortars. Then, at 3 a.m. on the 13th, all 
watches having been synchronized most carefully, the raiders moved 
forward on their dangerous mission. 

In spite of all the care taken, the raid was not an entire success. 
The enemy wire had been well cut, but through some error the 
barrage did not strike on the appointed place at the appointed time 
and, in consequence, the troops in pushing through the gap came 
under sharp machine gun fire. Notwithstanding this, every effort 
was made to carry out the pre-arranged schedule and one party, 
entering the enemy trench, bombed a troublesome machine gun and 
fired on a group of Huns who ran back to their support line. 

Having done as much damage as was possible and finding him 
self in danger of being cut off, Lieut. Carstairs abandoned the effort 
to secure prisoners and reluctantly gave the order to withdraw. 
To carry this out was no easy matter, as the enemy had become 
thoroughly aware of what was happening and his machine guns 
were sweeping No Man s Land at all angles, paying particular at 
tention to the gap in his wire, which provided the sole avenue of 

retreat. 

At this stage of the affair two Rifle Grenadiers, Privates 
Given and R. D. Hall, gave a splendid exhibition of courage and 

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THE THIRD WINTER IN FRANCE 

devotion to duty, remaining behind and covering- the retreat of the 
party by engaging as many as possible of the hostile machine guns. 
Having performed this vital service with skill and success, the stout 
hearted pair retired themselves. Very unfortunately, Private Hall 
was killed in No Man s Land. His body was recovered and brought 
back to the Canadian lines. 

When the raiders returned to their jumping off trench, a careful 
check showed that Lieut. J. Young and 4 other ranks had been 
wounded, while Lieut. P. E. Corbett, M.C., who, though not of 
ficially attached to the party, had rendered valuable assistance, had 
also been wounded. All these had been brought in safely. 

During the next three days the Royal Highlanders suffered some 
10 casualties, while, on the evening of the 15th, the enemy made a 
projector gas attack, which involved the right company and neces 
sitated the wearing of respirators, but failed to do serious damage. 
At about 7 o clock on the same evening a German party was dis 
covered attempting to cut the wire in front of No. 6 Post, and some 
two hours later another party approached the front and threw 
several bombs. This party was dispersed by a Lewis gun and 
afterwards Lieut. M. L. Brady, with one other rank, went out and 
found a wounded Hun caught on the wire and abandoned by his 
comrades. This individual was brought in a prisoner. 

At 9 p.m. on the 16th, the Royal Highlanders were relieved by 
the 1st Canadian Battalion and marched back to familiar billets in 
Bracquemont, where they remained until the 25th. During this 
period routine training was carried on and special attention given 
to work with gas masks and respirators. On the 18th it was an 
nounced that the Belgian Croix de Guerre had been awarded to 
Coy. Sergt.-Major G. P. Morrison, of "C" Coy., and to Sergt. 
H. E. Copeman, of the. Intelligence Section. Unfortunately, Sergt. 
Copeman did not live to receive this honour, he having been killed 
in No Man s Land, where his decoration had been bravely won. 

With Major Jeffery in command during the temporary absence 
of Lieut.-Col. Perry, the Battalion moved forward on February 25th 
and relieved the 8th Canadian Battalion in Brigade Support in the 
Cite St. Emile Section, "A" and "B" Companies taking over billets 
in Cite St. Edouard, "C" and "D" Companies in Cite St. Pierre and 
Headquarters occupying the same dug-out in Cite St. Pierre as in 
the previous September. Working parties were the chief feature 
of the tour in support, which lasted nine days. Lieut.-Col. Perry 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

re-assumed command on March 3rd and on the 6th of the month 
the Battalion took over the front line from the 14th Battalion. 
Lieut. Mowry, United States Army, was attached to the Royal 
Highlanders for instruction at this time and created a favourable 
impression by his keenness. The officers of the 13th were inter 
ested to hear from him of the speed with which American troops 
were being brought to France and of the preparations that the 
United States was making to fill an adequate part in the war. 

During the tour that followed the Canadian heavy artillery car 
ried out several concentrated "shoots," while the light and heavy 
trench mortars were also active. The enemy was by no means 
slow in retaliating for the punishment inflicted upon him, and the 
Highlanders suffered a casualty list of 1 killed and approximately 
a score wounded. Owing to the excellence of the klaxon warning 
system, however, and the speed with which the men donned res 
pirators when necessary, losses from a large number of gas shells 
which the Hun sent over were entirely avoided. Fears were enter 
tained one day that a case of spinal meningitis had broken out in 
the Battalion and prompt measures were taken to isolate all con 
tacts. Later the afflicted man was found to be suffering from a 
malady of a less serious nature. 

Summer time came into effect during the tour and all watches 
were advanced one hour. On the night of March 13th the 38th 
Canadian Battalion relieved the Highlanders, who retired to reserve, 
"A" and "D" Companies to billets in Boyeffles, "B" and "C" Com 
panies and Battalion Headquarters to Petit Sains and Sains-en- 
Gohelle. A week was spent in these locations, uneventful for the 
most part, but marked on the 18th of the month by manoeuvres, in 
which the Battalion practised an attack in liaison with aeroplanes 
and tanks. Routine drills, rifle practice and special training of all 
sorts occupied the other six days of the week, while off duty time 
was filled by a varied programme of sports, with baseball and foot 
ball matches predominating. The "Red Hackles" appeared on two 
occasions and gave clever exhibitions, while the Battalion Orchestra 
assisted at Divine Service at Fosse 10 on St. Patrick s Day, Sunday, 
March 17th. Previous to this it was announced that the Military 
Medal had been awarded to Corporal C. H. Camm and Private J. 
Given, both of whom had rendered conspicuous service during the 
raid on the early morning of February 13th. 

In addition to the training mentioned above, the Royal High- 

[224] 




AVION, SEPTEMBER, 1917. 



Canadian Official, Copyright. 




PASSCIIKXD. \I-.I.K, XOVKMBK.R, 1917. 

Canadian Official, Copyright. 



THE THIRD WINTER IN FRANCE 

landers during their stay in the Boyeffles-Petit Sains area supplied 
working parties to an Australian Tunnelling Company and to the 
Canadian Engineers, these totalling on an average about 120 men 
a day. On the 20th of March the week in this district, came to an 
end and the 13th moved to familiar billets in Bracquemont, where 
they relieved the 4th Canadian Battalion as Divisional Reserve. 



[225] 

15 



CHAPTER XVII 

Anxious Days 

What of the fight? Or well or ill, 
Whatever chance our hearts are sure; 
Our fathers strength is with us still 
Through good or evil to endure. 

Our spirit, though the storm may lower, 
Burns brighter under darkening skies, 
Knowing that at the appointed hour 
The glory of the dawn shall rise. 

CLAUDE E. C. H. BURTON. 

("Touchstone") 
I 

WHEN spring arrived in 1918 it brought the certainty that 
a German offensive on the Western Front was imminent. 
Even earlier than this it had been realized that the power 
to choose the time and place for battle had passed temporarily from 
Allied hands and that the next great move would be Germany s. 
Exactly when and where this blow would fall no one knew for 
certain, though the British General Staff gave as their opinion a 
date and location which proved amazingly accurate and showed that 
they possessed a lively appreciation of the strategical situation that 
existed. As early as the previous November, on their return to 
Lens from Passchendaele, the men of the Canadian Corps began to 
strengthen the defences of the vital Vimy area, which was entrusted 
to their care. Sir Douglas Haig has noted in his despatch of July 
8th the characteristics of this district which rendered it so impor 
tant. Behind Vimy, he says, "lay the northern collieries of France 
and certain tactical features, which cover our lateral communications. 
Here little or no ground could be given up." 

All during the winter and spring of 1918 the Canadian Corps 
toiled to render this district quite impregnable. Under the super 
vision of the Engineer Staff, the Field Companies of Engineers, the 
Tunnelling Companies, the Pioneer Companies and huge working 
parties from the Infantry battalions created a vast fortress, such 

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ANXIOUS DAYS 

as the mind of the layman can hardly conceive. Line after line 
of trenches were dug and wired, with switch lines to protect the 
flanks. Special "defended localities" were brought into being, each 
a miniature fortress, with trenches, dugouts and machine gun em 
placements ; tanks for water, shelters for ammunition, tunnels 
for communication, and every other improvement that experience 
had shown to be of value. 

It is to be presumed that the German Intelligence Department 
was not unaware of the tremendous strength with which the Vimy 
area had been endowed. Be that as it may, it is certain that when 
the time came for the enemy to launch his great assault, he avoided 
the district as he would the plague, in spite of the fact that at no 
spot on the Western Front would a comparatively short advance 
have yielded him greater benefits. When, later in the year, his vast 
effort had expended itself and the tide of victory was turning against 
him, the British centre, with Vimy as its chief bastion, was the only 
part of the line which stood firm on the ground it had occupied in 
1917. For this fact the defensive work installed by the labours 
of the Canadian Corps must, at least in some measure, be held 
responsible. 

On March 21st, 1918, the Germans attacked on a 50-mile front 
from Arras to la Fere. So tremendous was the force of this blow 
that the Fifth British Army reeled and gave ground somewhat 
alarmingly. Only when the attack had advanced some 35 miles to 
a point almost in the shadow of Amiens was its progress definitely 
stayed. Then, on April 9th, another drive was launched in Flanders 
and forced the British back, until Ypres and the Channel ports were 
once more in danger. At this time Sir Douglas Haig issued the 
Special Order in which he said, "Every position must be held to the 
last man. There must be no retirement. With our backs to the 
wall, and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must 
fight to the end." How splendidly the Army responded to this 
Order is known to all who followed the progress of the war. 

Having delivered two mighty blows against the British and hav 
ing fallen short of the tremendous victory of which he dreamed, the 
enemy, on May 27th, shifted his point of attack and struck hard at 
the French front between Soissons and Rheims, following this a 
fortnight later by a drive on the front between Noyon and 
Montdidier. 

Meanwhile, the first of these great attacks had penetrated some 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

32 miles and had been brought to a halt by French troops, aided by 
American Marines and Regulars. By the 1st of July the United 
States had landed nearly 1,000,000 men in France; many of these 
were lines of communication troops and many others were not ready 
to take their place in the line, but those who had reached the front 
were rendering excellent service and showing what might some day 
be expected of the remainder. To hasten that day every effort was 
being made to shorten and intensify their period of training. 

By July 15th the great German drive in the south had been 
brought to a standstill and on the 18th of the month Marshal Foch, 
who previous to this had been given supreme command of all the 
Allied Armies on the Western Front, launched a counter offensive, 
which achieved immediate success and marked the turning point in 
the campaign of 1918. 

While these great engagements were taking place to the south 
and north, the Canadian Corps was having a comparatively quiet 
time. During the winter and early spring the Corps, as has been 
described, held and fortified the great Vimy bastion, which formed 
the centre of the whole British line. Then, on May 7th, the Corps, 
less the 2nd Division, which was temporarily attached to the VI 
British Corps, was withdrawn from the front line to form part of 
a special striking force, known as "G.H.Q. Reserve." 

On several occasions previous to this it had been suggested that 
the Corps should be broken up and one, or all, of its divisions at 
tached to other corps and thrown into the bitter fighting to the 
north or south. This was the counsel of despair and wiser heads 
realized that the Corps, owing to certain advantages, was capable 
of delivering a heavier blow than any other, and that in time the 
opportunity for such a blow would certainly come. The advantages 
the Corps possessed were several. Firstly, it was the strongest 
Army Corps in Europe, with adequate reserves to keep it so. 
Secondly, and contrary to the custom prevailing in the British Army, 
it had preserved its identity throughout, its divisions, when serving 
with any other corps, never by any chance considering themselves 
as incorporated in that unit, but invariably speaking and thinking 
of themselves as "attached." This had brought about an esprit de 
corps and a sense of confidence on the part of every unit towards 
every other that was of the utmost value in time of stress and 
emergency. Thirdly, in its auxiliary services the Corps had built 
up an organization that was unique, while, in the matter of the 

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ANXIOUS DAYS 

higher command, it was served and guided by a staff of marked 
ability. When the great day finally came, it more than justified 
the policy that kept it intact in the face of strong pressure to break 
it up and fling its divisions hither and yon to meet the immediate 
need. 

II 

When the first great German drive began on March 21st, the 
13th Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada, was in billets at 
Bracquemont. Two days later the Battalion moved to Fosse 10 and 
there experienced the first effect of the distant battle, when a warn 
ing message was received from Brigade stating that the Battalion 
was to hold itself in readiness to move at one hour s notice on re 
ceipt of the order, "stand to." With the possibility of this order 
arriving at any moment, nothing much could be done during the 
remainder of the day, but all spare kit was eliminated and arrange 
ments made to store the surplus in Bruay. In the afternoon the 
officers played the officers of the 16th at "indoor baseball and won 
their match by a considerable margin. No "stand to" order was 
received during the day, but an officer was posted at the telephone 
all night so that, should the order arrive, not a moment would be 
lost in calling up the sleeping men. 

At 10.30 o clock on the following night, March 25th, a priority 
message was received ordering the Battalion to "stand to" from 
5.30 a.m. on March 26th. It was confidently expected that this 
would be followed by a message ordering the Battalion forward, 
but such was not the case and even a move into another area, which 
had been arranged, was cancelled. 

Early on the morning of the 27th, however, the Battalion paraded 
and marched to Chateau de la Haie, near Gouy Servins. In the 
evening the "Red Hackles" appeared in a sketch entitled "Gipsy 
Love" and, at the conclusion of the performance, Brig.-Gen. G. S. 
Tuxford, commanding the 3rd Brigade, informed the audience that 
at about midnight the 3rd Brigade would move to an unnamed des 
tination, presumably to take its part in the latest and most vigorous 
"push" of the war. 

At 11 p.m. definite orders were received and at midnight the 
whole Battalion was drawn up in the grounds of the Chateau, await 
ing busses, which did not arrive till 1.30 a.m. The ride which fol 
lowed was a long one, half the Battalion leaving the busses near 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Doullens and marching 10 kilometres to Humbercourt, while the 
other half, which was scattered owing- to motor troubles, finally 
debussed at Merieux, rested for a few hours, then embussed again 
and proceeded to Humbercourt, which was reached at about 5 
o clock in the afternoon. Picking up the first half of the Battalion 
at this spot, the busses continued to Wanquetin, whence the men 
marched some 7 kilometres to huts at Agnes-lez-Duisans, arriving 
at about 9 p.m. As it rained during the march and as the Bat 
talion had been on the move, with only a few hours rest, since the 
previous midnight, the weary men thoroughly appreciated the hot 
tea and ration of rum that was issued when billets were reached. 

At 2 o clock on the following morning the men were roused from 
sleep and at 3.30 a.m., after a hurried breakfast, the Battalion 
moved to Arras, Headquarters, with "C" and "D" Companies, bil 
leting- in the Grande Place, while "A" and "B" Companies occupied 
a section of the famous Ronville Caves and passed temporarily under 
the command of the 16th Canadian Battalion. In the afternoon 
these companies rejoined the main section in the Grande Place and 
the whole Battalion went into Brigade Support. 

On March 30 the Royal Highlanders "stood to" in the morning, 
but, as no call was made for their services, the remainder of the day 
was spent in resting. At night on the 31st the entire Battalion, 
with the exception of a few Headquarters details, was employed in 
digging reserve trenches west of Arras. On the following day, 
April 1st, the unit moved into the western end of Ronville Caves. 

In these underground passages, hewn out of the chalk and ex 
tending for miles, the Battalion remained for five days, together 
with a trench mortar battery and a machine gun unit, who were 
also using the Caves as a temporary home. Cooking was done in 
cellars and dugouts overhead, as no fires were permitted in the 
Caves themselves, where ventilation was a problem. The men were 
not allowed out of the Caves during the day for fear of observation, 
so time hung heavily on their hands. At night, however, parties 
went forward on several occasions and worked under the super 
vision of the Engineers. Particularly good work was accomplished 
on the night of April 2nd when Major W. E. Macfarlane took for 
ward a party which included almost the entire Battalion personnel. 
In a report regarding the work performed, Major E. F. L/ynn, com 
manding the 2nd Field Company, Canadian Engineers, wrote to 
Brig.-Gen. G. S. Tuxford as follows: 

[230] 



ANXIOUS DAYS 

Sir: 

I have the honour to report that the work now being done by the 3rd 
Canadian Infantry Brigade --is going on very satisfactorily . I am writ 
ing specially to express my appreciation and pleasure of working with the 
13th Canadian Infantry Battalion. 

The work carried out last night was accomplished with keenness and 
thoroughness by every officer, N.C.O. and man. Lieut. Bate, officers and 
sappers of this unit are keen to praise the spirit in which the men took hold 
and completed the task which was given them to do. 

I have the honour to be, Sir } 

Your obedient servant, 

(Sgd.) E. F. LYNN, 

Major, C.E. 
Comm d g. 2nd Field Company, C.E. 

On April 4th Lieut-Col. G. E. McCuaig returned from his ex 
tended furlough and took over command of the Battalion from 
Major K. M. Perry, who had acted as C.O. during his absence. 

At 8.45 p.m. on April 5th the Royal Highlanders left the Ron- 
ville Caves and relieved the 2nd Canadian Battalion in Brigade 
Reserve near Beaurains. Right at the exit from the Caves the 
Battalion suffered a severe loss, when a 5.9 shell burst on the cob 
bled pavement in the midst of a platoon of "C" Coy., killing ten 
men, wounding twenty -one severely and leaving but two uninjured. 
Amongst the dead was Capt. E. W. Waud, who had been wounded 
in June, 1916, and who, on recovering from his injuries, had re 
turned to the Battalion and rendered devoted service. Together 
with those killed by the same shell, Capt. Waud was laid to rest in 
the Military Cemetery at Duisans, all officers and men of the Bat 
talion s rear details attending the burial to pay their regretful 
respects. 

Considerable shelling accompanied the Battalion in its progress 
forward to the reserve position, the majority of the sections being 
forced off the road into the adjoining fields where, in the pitch 
blackness of the night, they had a bad time with barbed wive en 
tanglements, progress being made still more difficult by gas shell 
ing, which forced them to wear respirators. Lieut. R. N. More- 
wood was slightly wounded during the relief, which was completed 
about midnight. On reaching their destination the men billeted 
in corrugated bivouacs which, while better than nothing, provided 
little shelter against heavy artillery fire. 

On the morning of April 7th the rear details of the 13th, 14th, 

[231] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

15th and 16th Battalions were organized into a special emergency 
attacking battalion, under the command of IJeut.-Col. C. W. Peck, 
D.S.O. So far as the 13th was concerned, the rear details were 
organized into a regular company, with Capt. A. W. Ruston as 
O.C., Capt. D. B. Donald as second-in-command and Lieuts. B. G, 
Field, K. G. Blackader, F. S. Stowell and W. D. C. Christie as 
platoon commanders. The personnel of the company was made 
up of all Headquarters details, the Battalion Concert Party, all 
tailors (except the Master Tailor), all shoemakers (except the 
Master Shoemaker), the band (except the Pipers), all Q.M. details 
and Transport men who could possibly be spared, all batmen, police 
and prisoners, cooks and specialist instructors. Each of the other 
battalions in the 3rd Brigade turned out a company similar to that 
of the 13th, with the result that the Brigade found itself in posses 
sion of a spare battalion, which, while by no means to be compared 
with the front line units, was none the less well officered and quite 
capable of dealing a shrewd blow, should necessity arise. 

On the evening of the 7th the Royal Highlanders were relieved 
by the l/13th Battalion of the London Regiment and moved back 
to huts at Dainville. At noon on the following day the Battalion 
received orders to relieve the West Riding Regiment in the right 
front line of the Feuehy-Fampoux Sector. At 3.30 p.m. busses 
arrived to convey the advance party to their destination, the re 
mainder of the Battalion following in busses later. Relief began 
at 8.30 p.m. and proceeded apace, except in the case of "D" Coy., 
whose officers had some difficulty in securing information as to the 
exact location of their outposts and the position occupied by the 
enemy, a perturbing state of affairs as the front had very little 
protecting wire. By 10 p.m. the 13th Signallers, under the direction 
of Sergt. Bonner, had, according to their invariable custom, estab 
lished telephone communication from Battalion Headquarters to all 
the company H.Q s., much to the surprise of the outgoing battalion, 
who regarded this feature of the relief as an extraordinary example 
of Canadian enterprise. The Canadians were equally surprised to 
hear that the British regiment had not been in telephone communica 
tion with their companies during their whole tour in the front line, 
but had relied on other means, which the Canadians regarded as 
obsolete, but which the less impetuous Britishers apparently found 
quite satisfactory. 

Dawn on April 9th, the anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, 

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ANXIOUS DAYS 

found the Highlanders front blanketed in heavy mist. Aided, or 
possibly bewildered, by this curtain of fog a party of three Germans 
approached "D" Coy s, front and were fired on by No. 1 Lewis Gun 
post, which was commanded by Lance-Corp. Loiselle. One man 
was killed and another wounded, the latter escaping with the third 
man, who was uninjured. Later Lieut. J. E. Christie with a small 
party went out and examined the body of the dead Hun, who 
proved to belong to the 28th German R.I.R. 

Still later in the day Lieut. Christie, aided by the mist, made a 
daylight reconnaissance across No Man s Land, entered the enemy 
line and, discovering a vacant post stocked with captured British 
bombs and German stick grenades, de-detonated these and restored 
them to their positions, with a view to attacking the post when it 
was occupied and possibly capturing, or killing, the garrison, who 
would be horrified to find their bombs worthless. 

At 6 p.m. Lieut. A. N. Sclater, the Battalion Patrol Officer, 
led a party of eight men forward and visited the post which Christie 
had discovered, but found it still unoccupied. Continuing investiga 
tions, this patrol worked along the German line for some 400 yards, 
without encountering any opposition. Eventually the party decided 
that they had progressed quite far enough and started to retire. 
On reaching the unoccupied post, they laid a trap and were re 
warded about half an hour later when three Huns walked into it. 
Being covered with revolvers, these individuals surrendered without 
further ado and the patrol, having achieved a brilliant little suc 
cess, returned forthwith to their own lines, whence the Germans, 
all members of the 28th R.I.R., were sent back to Brigade H.Q. 
for interrogation. 

Further patrols of an interesting nature were carried out on 
April 10th. Lieut. Christie proceeded to the enemy post, the scene 
of the previous day s coup, and once more found it unoccupied. 
Accordingly, he salvaged the bombs which he had de-detonated, 
re-detonated them and issued them to his platoon. Later in the 
day Lieut. M. L. Brady and six men took up a position in enemy 
territory and awaited developments. In about half an hour two 
Germans approached, but became suspicious and, after pausing for 
a moment, started to run. Fire was thereupon opened by the 
Highlanders, but the latter could not claim definite hits. As a re 
sult of these patrols it became obvious that the enemy s main line 
of trenches was situated along the top of Monchy Hill, which rose 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

a little to the rear, and that at night he occupied advanced posts 
along the foot of the Hill, retiring to his main line in the morning. 
Trench mortar activity marked the morning of April llth and in 
the evening aerial battles above the lines were numerous, one man 
of the 13th suffering a painful wound when a stray bullet from one 
of these encounters tore a jagged hole in his foot. 

An unfortunate incident occurred on the 13th front at about noon 
on April 12th, when a strange officer, accompanied by a private, 
passed one of the Highlanders advanced posts and disappeared in 
the direction of the enemy s line. Presuming that the officer knew 
where he was going, the men in the advanced post made no effort 
to stop him, but reported the incident as a matter of routine. Later 
it developed that an officer of the 16th Battalion was missing and 
the obvious conclusion was that he and the officer who had passed 
the 13th post were one and the same. Apparently he had been un 
aware of his actual position and had imagined that the front line 
still lay ahead, as it would have had he been a little further north. 

The same night Lieut. Sclater, Lieut. Brady and four other ranks 
moved across No Man s Land to pay the enemy another visit. Five 
Huns were sighted at one spot and fire was opened on them. One 
was seen to fall and a Mills bomb was thrown and seen to burst 
amongst the remainder. The Highlanders party then withdrew 
to their own lines. 

During this tour stringent orders were issued to the troops to be 
on guard against German spies masquerading in British uniforms. 
One day Maj.-Gen. A. C. Macdonell entered a dugout in the front 
line and asked some questions of a canny Scot, who had joined the 
Battalion a few days before and who did not know the Divisional 
Commander by sight. If these lines ever meet General Mac- 
donell s eyes he will learn, possibly for the first time, that he was 
suspected of being a spy on this occasion and that for over a 
quarter of an hour he was continually covered by the canny Scot s 
concealed revolver. 

On the night of April 13th the Royal Highlanders were relieved 
by the 2nd Canadian Battalion and moved back to billets in St. 
Aubin. Shelling occurred during the relief and one man of No. 3 
Platoon was killed, seven others being severely wounded, 
brought the casualty list for the whole tour up to a total of 39 all 
ranks, 10 having been killed and 29 wounded. 

[234] 



ANXIOUS DAYS 

Meanwhile, the rear details of the four 3rd Brigade battalions, 
forming the special counter-attacking battalion, had paraded under 
the command of Major Plow, M.C., M.M., of the 14th Battalion, 
and had marched to rejoin their respective units. The 13th com 
pany broke off at St. Aubin and was already in billets at this place 
when the Battalion proper arrived back from the front line. 

During the week that the 13th remained at St. Aubin in Corps 
Reserve, large working parties, under Major I. M. R. Sinclair, re 
ported to the Engineers on three occasions and were employed on 
the never ending task of digging reserve trenches. Kilts were re 
issued in the early part of the week and, as if to celebrate the oc 
casion, the companies began to give more attention to training in 
open warfare, events on other parts of the front having demon 
strated that the long years of trench warfare were probably coming 
to an end. 

An incident of this period was a quarrel between "Flora Mac- 
clonald," the Battalion goat, and her masters of the pipe band. It 
was the pride of "Flora s" life to march and counter-march with 
the pipers, and her skill in wheeling at the exact moment when a 
turn was required was the envy and admiration of all units whose 
mascots could not be trained to do likewise. "Flora" got well 
smeared with tar one day and bitterly resented the efforts of the 
pipers to clean her coat, so much so that for the first time in her 
three years service she utterly refused to parade, though obviously 
yearning for her accustomed place at the head of the column. How 
the quarrel was adjusted no one knows, but eventually her heart 
was softened by some skilled philanderer and the incident of the 
tar forgotten. 

At night on April 21st the Battalion advanced and relieved the 
5th Canadian Battalion in support. Working parties were the chief 
feature of the tour that followed. Significant of the times, how 
ever, was the placing of small demolition parties on two bridges 
over a railway cutting in the Battalion area, with instructions to 
blow these should a sudden German attack force the Canadians to 
withdraw. Some shelling occurred during the tour and one man 
was killed while on a ration party, but on the whole working and 
other parties were not seriously interfered with. 

On the morning of April 28th the 13th Battalion acted as 
support to a highly successful raiding operation, carried out by the 
Royal Montreal Regiment and the Canadian Scottish. Some 12 

[235] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

officers and 240 other ranks took part in this little engagement, which 
resulted in the capture of 1 German officer, 54 other ranks, 3 machine 
guns and 1 "pine-apple thrower." In addition, the raiders inflicted 
sharp casualties on the enemy with the bayonet and bombs, while 
they themselves escaped very lightly. Considering all these facts, 
Sir Arthur Currie, the Canadian Corps Commander, complimented 
the two battalions concerned and stated that this had proved one 
of the most successful minor operations in some time. 

On the night following the raid the 13th Battalion moved for 
ward and relieved the 14th in the front line. Early on the morning 
of May 1st Corp. T. G. Gilchrist accompanied a sergeant out into 
No Man s Land to inspect a gap in their own wire. They pro 
ceeded further than ordered, and Gilchrist was hit by an enemy 
bomb. The sergeant thereupon returned to the Highlanders front 
line and reported what had happened. Lieut. J. Kerry immediately 
took a patrol to the spot the sergeant had indicated and searched 
the ground thoroughly. No trace of Gilchrist could be found, un 
fortunately, and it was presumed that the party which had thrown 
the bomb had taken him prisoner. Lacking more definite informa 
tion, he was posted on the Battalion s records as "wounded and 
missing." 

On the 3rd and 4th of the month visibility was unusually good 
and the Battalion observers were able to report to the artillery the 
location of several large parties in the enemy s back areas. On one 
occasion 250 Huns were observed in the vicinity of Square Wood, 
these being shelled by the Canadian 4.5 s as soon as their presence 
was reported. On another occasion Lieut. B. G. Field reported that 
the enemy had dug two gun pits in Square Wood and had dragged a 
light field gun into one of them. To deal with this situation a 
special "shoot" was arranged by the Canadian 4.5 howitzers. 

Special precautions against surprise attacks were taken on the 
night of May 4th, in view of information regarding an impending 
movement secured from two escaped British prisoners. Strong 
defensive patrols lay out in No Man s Land all night, but no attack 
developed. Late on the following night, or well on in the morning 
of the 6th, to be more exact, the Battalion was relieved by the 13th 
Battalion, Royal Scots, and retired to billets in a single large house 
in Arras. 

Shelling of Arras that day caused no little anxiety, owing to the 
fact that one large shell striking the house in which the whole Bat- 

[236] 



ANXIOUS DAYS 

talion was billeted might easily bring about losses approximating 
those of a major engagement. In .consequence, it was with relief 
that the Battalion, during 1 the afternoon, moved out of Arras to 
familiar billets in St. Aubin. 



[237] 



CHAPTER XVIII 

G. H. Q. Reserve and Arras 

Light green of grass and richer green of bush 
Slope upwards to the darkest green of fir 
How still ! How deathly still ! And yet the hush 
Shivers and trembles with some subtle stir, 

"Behold all Europe writhing on the rack, 
The sins of fathers grinding down the sons, 
How long, O Lord !" He sends no answer back, 
But still I hear the mutter of the guns. 

SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLS. 



ON May 6th, 1918, the Canadian Corps went into G.H.Q. 
Reserve, consequently it was almost three months before the 
Royal Highlanders saw more fighting. During the first 
two weeks of this period the Battalion remained at St. Aubin, 
where, on the 7th of the month, it was announced that the Military 
Cross had been awarded to Lieut. A. N. Sclater and the Military 
Medal to Lance-Corp. E. Hest, for the services that they had ren 
dered in the brilliant patrolling operations at Feuchy-Fampoux 
during the early part of April. Simultaneously it was announced 
that the Italian Bronze Medal for Military Valour had been awarded 
to Sergt. S. Chandler, of the Intelligence Section, who, throughout 
the three years of the Battalion s work in France, had rendered 
courageous, constant and faithful service. 

Apart from routine, the work of the Battalion at this time con 
sisted of special training in open warfare, with particular attention 
paid to the attack. Several whole days were spent in manoeuvres of 
this type and on at least one occasion aeroplanes co-operated to 
train the men in effective methods of liaison. At the end of the 
day s work, the men derived a great deal of pleasure from the 
proximity of the River Scarpe, which afforded them the opportunity, 

[238] 



G.H.Q. RESERVE AND ARRAS 

rare on active service, for bathing and swimming to their hearts 
content. 

Sports of all varieties occupied much of the spare time. Brigade 
sports were held at Etrun on the 15th of the month and the Bat 
talion attended in a body. Quite the most sensational number on the 
programme was the "chariot" race in which the entrants "drove 
wild" while seated on the front limber of a G.S. wagon. This con 
test provided the spectators with a thrill, which even the ever- 
popular greasy-pole event could not rival. The day s sports were 
brought to a close by a baseball match in which the 13th went down 
to defeat before the superior playing of the 15th by a score of 12-6. 
On May 13th Major K. M. Perry, D.S.O., who had acted as Com 
manding Officer during the absence of Lieut.-Col. McCuaig in the 
winter and who, since the latter s return, had served as Second-in- 
Command, left the Royal Highlanders to assume command of the 
87th Battalion, Canadian Grenadier Guards. While it was with re 
gret on both sides that the separation took place, Major Perry was 
the recipient of hearty congratulations and sincere expressions of 
good will. Judging from their own experience, all ranks felt that 
the Guards had secured a commanding officer who was capable of 
handling a battalion with the best. Previous to his departure Major 
Perry was the guest of honour at a lively party in the Officers 
Mess. The "ladies" of the Battalion Concert Party in their smartest 
frocks helped by their dancing and singing to make the affair a 
howling success. 

On May 19th the Royal Highlanders said farewell to St. Aubin 
and moved to Izel-lez-Hameau. Special training in the attack was 
a feature of the five days spent at this spot. On several occasions 
Brigade manoeuvres were held and one night the Brigade bivouacked 
in a wood near the Avesnes-le-Comte-Frevent Road. With camp 
fires blazing in all directions and with groups of officers and men 
gathered around, singing and telling stories, the scene was one that 
all present will long remember. Somehow it seemed as if the hands 
of time had been turned back, for bivouacs and camp fires in a 
pleasant wood were familiar to the soldier of 1918 more from his 
childhood memories of highly coloured prints than from actual 
experience. 

The next morning further manoeuvres were carried out with the 
assistance of contact aeroplanes. An interesting feature of the day 
was a series of experiments in producing localized smoke screens 

[239] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

with specially prepared rifle grenades. Considerable enthusiasm was 
displayed by the troops in this new sport, with the result that the 
hide of one referee s horse was badly singed, while a hay-stack 
which sheltered an imaginary machine gun was so successfully 
screened that it took fire and was totally destroyed. When the 
resulting bill for damages was presented by the honest farmer who 
owned the land, this particular hay-stack, which had seemed about 
the same size as its fellows, was discovered by the astonished High 
landers to have dwarfed these as Gulliver dwarfed the Lilliputians. 

After five days at Izel-lez-Hameau the 13th moved to Bailleul- 
aux-Cornailles. Anti-typhoid inoculation marked the first day at 
this spot, while on the second day, which was a Sunday, the men 
were permitted to rest. On the 29th of the month Brigade manoeu 
vres were carried out, the 15th Battalion acting on the defensive, 
while the other three units practised the attack in liaison with con 
tact aeroplanes and tanks. On this occasion the 15th was called the 
"British" force, while the 13th, 14th and 16th became "Germans." 
Lieut. -Col. McCuaig became General von Quaig for the day and 
issued ferocious operation orders to Colonels Hans der Pecksburg 
and Fritz von Wortle, who seemed strongly to resemble Lieut. -Cols. 
Peck and Worrall, the distinguished commanding officers of the 
Canadian Scottish and Royal Montreal Regiment. Keen rivalry 
was displayed between the opposing forces and many stratagems 
and tricks were resorted to. The 16th Battalion before daylight 
concealed two spies, with a heliograph, in some trees in the area 
the 15th was to defend. These were discovered and hauled ig- 
nominiously from their position by the triumphant "British," the feat 
being accomplished to the enthusiastic applause of a pair of simple 
French farmers who appeared on the scene from nowhere in par 
ticular. Long hours afterwards the "British" discovered to their 
chagrin that the honest sons of the soil before whom they had so 
cleverly captured the spies were themselves disguised members of 
the attacking forces. 

Inter-company baseball and football games were numerous dur 
ing this period and on several occasions the Battalion engaged in 
contests with other units with varying degrees of success. On the 
evening of June 8th the officers of the 13th entertained the Matron 
and Nursing Sisters of No. 3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station at 
dinner. A large marquee was erected for the occasion and the 
services of the Battalion Concert Party retained to provide a cabaret 

[240] 




: - 



WINTER, 1917-1918. 



Canadian Official, Copyright. 




I.v THK TRENCHES XKAR LKNS, DKCKMBKR, 1917, 

Canadian Official, Copyright. 



G.H.Q. RESERVE AND ARRAS 

for the guests. After dinner the whole company proceeded to the 
local chateau, where the floor of the Battalion Orderly Room had 
been prepared for dancing. If the guests enjoyed the party as much 
as the officers, and they claimed to have done so, there is no doubt 
they will long remember the evening- as one of the most agreeable 
spent in France. 

Some days after this party a list of honours appeared in which 
Lieut.-Col. G. E. McCuaig, D.S.O., was awarded the C.M.G., while 
he, as well as Major (A/Lieut.-Col.) K. M. Perry, D.S.O., and 
Lieut. W. F. McGovern, were listed as "Mentioned in Despatches." 
In view of the excellent party which he had so recently supervised, 
Lieut.-Col. McCuaig has always maintained that either the C.M.G., 
or at very least the "Mention in Despatches," must have been 
awarded for proficiency in entertaining under difficult circumstances. 
The earnest seeker after the truth, however, will find that both these 
awards were made for the skill with which the Battalion had been 
handled under McCuaig s command. 

On June 16th the Battalion left Bailleul-aux-Cornailles and 
moved to Anzin. Here the unit continued its programme of train 
ing, while the men in their spare time were again able to enjoy 
swimming in the River Scarpe. Organized aquatic sports were held 
on one occasion, with prizes for swimming races, fancy diving, high 
diving and all the other items of a regulation meet. On June 17th 
the 1st Canadian Division held a sports day at Tinques, at which 
the 13th officers "indoor" baseball team won their match, advancing 
a step in the eliminations for the Corps championship. Numerous 
other contests of one sort and another occurred during the fortnight 
the Battalion remained at Anzin, but these were never allowed to 
interfere with training for the grim business that lay ahead. 

From the 24th to the 26th of the month, inclusive, and on several 
other occasions the Battalion rose at 5.30 a.m. and proceeded to 
Ariane Dump on the Lens-Bethune Road to work on the construction 
of reserve trenches. Influenza became prevalent at this time and a 
number of men were quarantined in consequence. These did not 
accompany the working parties, of course, but remained in their bil 
leting area, where they were kept busy with routine drills and 
training. During this period it was announced that for work such 
as the name of the decoration indicates, the Meritorious Service 
Medal had been awarded to Sergt. D. S. Fraser and to Regimental 
Quartermaster-Sergeant C. Millward. 

[241] 
16 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Reveille sounded at 4.45 o clock on the morning of June 30th 
and at 7 a.m. the Battalion moved off, passing through Mont St. 
Eloy, Camblain-1 Abbe and Cambligneul and completing the 18 
kilometres to Caucourt by 11 a.m. Influenza had increased to such 
an extent by this date that fully a quarter of the Battalion s strength 
made the move to Caucourt in ambulances. Fortunately the cases 
were mild and of short duration. 

Dominion Day, July 1st, was a holiday on which all men who 
desired were permitted to attend the Corps sports at Tinques. 
Practically the whole Battalion personnel availed themselves of this 
privilege, and few missed the splendid entertainment. In a field be 
tween the Arras-St. Pol Road and the Railway a huge arena had 
been prepared, with grandstands and pavilions on the one side and 
a hill which formed a natural grandstand on the other. Flags and 
bunting were used for decorations and these, in combination with 
the green grass and the white of the numerous tents that served 
as dressing rooms, presented a most attractive sight. Numerous 
brass bands were distributed throughout the grounds, while the 
massed pipe bands of the 1st Division were also present, lending a 
Highland touch to the scene. Thousands of troops gathered for the 
event, while the Corps numbered amongst its guests H.R.H. the 
Duke of Connaught, Sir Robert Borden, General John J. Pershing, 
the American Commander-in-Chief, and many other distinguished 
soldiers and civilians. Aeroplanes hovered in the distance through 
out the day, protecting spectators and contestants alike from any 
danger of enemy bombing. As for the programme, it included 
track and field events of every conceivable nature, as well as matches 
in lacrosse, football, baseball, "indoor" baseball, tennis, volley ball 
and so on. The officers team of the 13th won the Corps champion 
ship at "indoor" baseball, while the 3rd Field Company, C.E., won 
the "outdoor" title. The 1st Canadian Division won the highest ag 
gregate of points. The whole memorable day was brought to a 
conclusion by the "Volatiles," the First Divisional Concert Party, 
who staged their latest and best revue, "Take a Chance." 

On the day following the Corps sports the 3rd Canadian 
fantry Brigade was reviewed at Bethonsart by the Corps Com 
mander, who was accompanied by Sir Robert Borden. Following 
the review, Sir Robert addressed the troops, who afterward 
marched past and tendered him the salute while on the way 

billets. 

[242] 



G.H.Q. RESERVE AND ARRAS 

Routine training continued for some days, then, on July 6th the 
Battalion marched to the scene of the Corps sports to attend a 
"Highland Gathering" conducted under the auspices of the 3rd 
Canadian Infantry Brigade. All Highland units were invited to 
attend, or send representatives, to this gathering and as the 15th 
(Scottish) and 51st (Highland) Divisions were in the neighbour 
hood, there was a gathering of the clans and a display of tartans 
varied enough to delight the heart of any loyal Scot. The pro 
gramme on this occasion included dancing, wrestling, hammer 
throwing, tossing the caber and a tug-of-war, as well as piping 
contests and a competition amongst the pipe bands. The feature 
of the day was "Retreat," played by 24 massed pipe bands, with 
284 pipers and 164 drummers participating. As the bands marched 
up and down in parallel files, the swing of the tartans was a martial 
sight worth going many miles to see. At the head of the centre 
column, bursting with pride, and keeping in time to the fraction of 
a second, marched "Flora Macdonald," the 13th Battalion goat. 
And well she might be proud, for no such gathering of pipers had 
ever taken place before. To complete the day, the 13th and 16th 
Battalions Concert Parties gave a vaudeville entertainment that 
was much appreciated by a large audience. 

Extensive manoeuvres took place on the 8th of the month under 
the supervision of the Corps, Divisional and Brigade Commanders. 
On the completion of these operations, Sir Arthur Currie addressed 
the troops and informed them quietly that the days of training were 
coming to an end and that before long the Canadian Corps was once 
more going into battle. Cheers greeted his announcement and it 
added interest to the somewhat monotonous programme of training 
that continued for a few days thereafter. 

On the evening of July 8th Canon Scott, Chaplain of the 1st 
Canadian Division, and an old friend of the 13th, paid the Battalion 
a visit and lectured to a large number of the men who gathered in 
a field for the purpose. The Canon told about a visit to Rome, 
where his British uniform had received a tumultuous welcome, both 
for its own sake and by reason of the fact that some of the populace 
took his small party to be the advance guard of a large force. The 
story of his adventures on this trip was full of interest for the 
men of the 13th, who, when he had concluded his tale, expressed 
their appreciation by spontaneous and long continued applause. 

Somewhat less scholastic in nature was the entertainment on 

[243] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

another occasion when the officers of the 13th accepted the challenge 
of the officers of the 15th for a cocking main. Few of the 13th 
officers knew much about cock fighting, nevertheless a sum of money 
was hastily raised and the surrounding country searched for a suit 
able champion. At last someone found a bird which rejoiced in the 
name of "The Pride of Ruitz." When the great day arrived the 
13th backed "The Pride" to a man, but, alas, the confidence was 
misplaced. He made an indifferent showing and the 15th bird won 
easily. As a disgusted backer was heard to observe when the battle 
was over, "That Pride of Ruitz must have won his name in an 
egg laying contest. If he got it in a fight, all I can say is that 
Ruitz is easily pleased." 

At 5 p.m. on July 13th the Royal Highlanders paraded at 
Caucourt and marched to "Y" Camp, near Etrun. From this point 
a party of 9 officers and 400 other ranks moved off for work near 
Maroeuil on the following day, while the rest of the Battalion re 
mained in camp, attending Divine Service in the morning and play 
ing games in the afternoon. In the early evening the officers of 
the Battalion defeated the men at "indoor" baseball by a score of 
6-5, reversing the verdict of a game on the previous day when the 
men won, by 15-13. 

More working parties and more sports marked the next few 
days, while on the 16th the chief event was a parade of the Brigade 
for Major-General S. C. Mewburn, Canadian Minister of Militia, 
who was accompanied by the Hon. C. C. Ballantyne, Minister of 
Marine and Fisheries, and by Major-General E. W. Wilson, G.O.C. 
No. 4 Military District in Canada. 

II 

Two days after the review by the distinguished visitors from 
Canada, the 13th Battalion paraded in battle order and proceeded 
to relieve the 19th Canadian Battalion in Arras. This city was 
reached about 9.30 p.m. and the men were deeply interested to note 
that it had suffered much damage since their visit in the spring. 
Billets were secured in the rue d Amiens and towards midnight 
considerable shelling took place in the immediate vicinity. Two 
nights later a 5.9 shell crashed into a house where the officers of 
"B" and "D" Companies were sleeping, but, apart from a rude 
awakening for the officers in question, no harm was done. 

Owing to the damaged and unprotected condition of many of 

[244] 



G.H.Q. RESERVE AND ARRAS 

the stores in Arras, troops were confined to billets during the stay 
in the town, but small parties of .15 at a time, under the supervision 
of an officer, were permitted to visit a swimming pool, part of the 
old moat, just outside the city. Soon it was discovered that Arras, 
while convenient in many ways, was not an entirely desirable place 
to billet a reserve battalion and accordingly the Royal High 
landers, on July 22nd, moved out of the city and proceeded to an 
area west of Beaurains. Meanwhile, a special counter-attacking 
battalion had been formed out of the rear details of the Brigade, 
similar to that which had existed in the spring and which had passed 
out of existence when the Brigade withdrew from the forward area. 
Command of this unit was given to Major R. O. Bell-Irving, M.C. 

While in reserve at Beaurains, working parties of the 13th went 
forward nightly to improve an important communication trench 
known as North Alley. No casualties occurred during these opera 
tions, but on the night of the 22nd, or rather in the early morning 
hours of the 23rd, the Battalion proper had a narrow escape when 
a change in the wind blew back gas from the front line. Box 
respirators were quickly adjusted, however, and no harm was done. 

On the night of July 26th the 13th Battalion moved forward 
and relieved the Royal Montreal Regiment in the Telegraph Hill 
sector of the front line. Relief was delayed somewhat owing to the 
fact that 15 officers and 400 other ranks of the 2nd Canadian In 
fantry Brigade were raiding the enemy s line at 9 p.m. and it was 
considered advisable not to begin the relief until the artillery fire 
brought about by this operation had died down. The Highlanders, 
accordingly, did not move into the line until nearly midnight. 

Rainy weather marked the first day of the tour in the front line 
and working parties were employed to keep the trenches in good 
condition. At ten minutes to one on the morning of July 28th, 
9 officers and 150 other ranks of the Canadian Scottish, on the 
Royal Highlanders immediate left, raided the enemy s trenches for 
the purpose of obtaining identifications and inflicting casualties. 
This operation was called the "Llandovery Castle Raid" and was 
planned, not only for the purposes already mentioned, but also as 
a reprisal against the Germans for the black and unspeakable crime 
of sinking His Majesty s Hospital Ship, "Llandovery Castle," to 
gether with many Canadian Nursing Sisters. Combined with the 
bombing of Canadian hospitals, this dastardly crime had stirred the 
men of the Canadian Corps to a feeling of intense bitterness to- 

[245] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

wards the Hun, unequalled, perhaps, since the days of the first gas 
attacks at Ypres. 

The defence scheme in the Telegraph Hill Sector had been 
worked out by the French and was a novel one to the Canadians. 
Long rolls of French wire were strung along the edge of the front 
and support trenches. In the event of an attack the garrisons of 
these trenches were supposed to pull this wire into the trench, set 
off an S.O.S. and retire to the reserve line in rear. The artillery 
would then pound the front trenches where the enemy was pre 
sumably floundering in the rolls of wire. In the case of the bat 
talion to the left of the 13th this arrangement would so work that 
when a shift had been made battalion headquarters would be in 
No Man s Land. However, as the contingency seemed remote and 
as the quarters were comfortable, no one worried much about it. 

On the whole the tour in the front line passed uneventfully. 
Enemy shelling was intermittent and casualties negligible. A party 
of seven Huns approached one of "C" Coy s posts on the 29th, but 
was driven off with bombs. Later Lieut. J. Kerry took out a patrol 
in an effort to capture prisoners, but no enemy was encountered. 
That same night a slight change in the disposition of the com 
panies was made to conform with a shift in the Battalion boundary. 
A rather pathetic story was revealed during the tour by the finding 
of the body of an 18th Battalion man who had been missing- since 
early in the summer. Some old equipment marked the spot where 
he had received death wounds and from this point he must have 
crawled over 200 yards back towards the Canadian line. Then, 
when almost safe, he had been too weak to make a way through 
his own wire and had died with comrades just too far away to hear 
his calls for assistance. 

Early on the morning of August 2nd the 13th Battalion was re 
lieved by the 2nd and 16th Battalions of the London Regiment and 
moved back to Dainville, whence, after a few hours sleep, the men 
were conveyed by light railway to Lattre St. Ouentin. Here details 
were received of an air raid on Izel-lez-Hameau on the night of July 
31st, as a result of which Private W. H. Hutchinson, of the Bat 
talion Concert Party, had been killed and a fellow actor, Private J. 
P Allen, wounded. The remainder of the party, who had just given 
an entertainment, were badly shaken up, but not otherwise injured. 



[246] 



CHAPTER XIX 

The Battle of Amiens 

E en now their vanguard gathers, 
E en now we face the fray- 
As Thou didst help our fathers, 
Help Thou our hosts to-day ! 

RUDYARD KIPLING. 
I 

ON August 8th, 1918, Sir Douglas Haig struck the blow 
which, to quote General Ludendorff, resulted in the Ger 
mans "losing hope for a military victory." In many ways 
the Battle of Amiens, as the engagement has been named, was the 
greatest surprise attack of the war. As early as July 20th Sir 
Arthur Currie was informed of the operation and notified that, for 
the occasion, the Canadian Corps would be attached to the Fourth 
British Army, under General Sir Henry Rawlinson. On July 28th 
the First French Army, under General Debeney, was placed by 
Marshal Foch under Sir Douglas s orders and it was arranged 
that this distinguished force should co-operate. 

On the following day the Canadian Divisional Commanders were 
taken into the secret, but were instructed to discuss the matter 
with no one, not even with their brigadiers, while to deceive the 
enemy they were ordered to continue preparations for an attack 
on Orange Hill, east of Arras. In a further effort to mislead the 
enemy, news was allowed to leak out that the Corps was going 
north to Flanders, and two battalions, the 27th, of the 2nd Division, 
and the 4th C.M.R. s, of the 3rd Division, were actually put into 
the line on the Kemmel front, where care was taken to see that 
the enemy identified them. Lest the German Intelligence system 
had developed unusual stupidity, two Canadian Casualty Clearing 
Stations were also moved north, as was a Buzzer Section of the 
Signal Corps, to send messages which the enemy could pick up 
and decipher without too great difficulty. An amusing result of 
these deceptions occurred when a number of foreign officers, tem 
porarily attached to the Corps, were "taken in" and hurried north 

[247] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

to secure good billets for themselves while such were still available. 
The indignation of these individuals when the Corps went else 
where was unbounded, but, as was pointed out, their move north 
ward had not been prompted by any responsible member of the 
Corps Staff, but was the result of listening to estaminet gossip, 
which on the face of it was quite "unofficial." 

On August 3rd the men of the 13th Battalion, Royal High 
landers of Canada, utterly unaware of where they were going, but 
suspecting strongly that something big was in the wind, started 
their move toward the scene of the forthcoming operations. At 
10.30 a.m. the Transport Section moved off by road for Prevent. 
At 12.45 p.m. "A" Coy. proceeded to Fosseux, thence by busses 
to Prevent, a point whither the remainder of the Battalion followed 
some hours later. Here the 13th entrained, Lieut. -Col. McCuaig 
being handed a package of sealed orders shortly before the train 
pulled out at 9.30 p.m. Capt. D. B. Donald, two officers and sixty 
other ranks of "A" Coy. travelled by an earlier train to act as 
a detraining party for the 3rd Brigade group. 

Proceeding southward, the long string of the famous "40 
hommes, 8 chevaux" box cars jolted along throughout the night. 
Early on the morning of the 4th a halt was made to water the 
horses and to give the men a cup of tea and a chance to stretch 
their cramped legs. Continuing, the train proceeded through beau 
tiful and well cultivated country until about 11 o clock, when the 
Battalion detrained at Vieux-Rouen-sur-Bresle. Delaying at this 
point for breakfast and a rest and, on the part of some, a plunge 
into the cool waters of the Bresle, the Battalion marched at 2 p.m. 
and proceeded some 14 kilometres to Epaumesnil. 

Reveille sounded at 6 o clock on the following morning and 
at 8 o clock the Battalion marched to an area to practise the attack 
in co-operation with the newest and fastest tanks. From this point 
Lieut.-Col. McCuaig rode to Brigade Headquarters to attend a con 
ference of C.O. s, and while there heard with a deep regret, later 
shared by all his officers, of the death of Lieut.-Col. Bartlett 
McLennan, D.S.O., the Commanding Officer of the Sister Battalion, 
the 42nd Royal Highlanders of Canada. 

Returning to billets after an interesting morning s work, the 
men of the 13th rested until 8.30 p.m., when, in disagreeable 
weather, the Battalion marched about 10 kilometres to a point 
where ensued a long and tedious wait for busses. At midnight, 

[248] 



THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 

the men boarded the busses and travelled all night, debussing at 
7.30 a.m. on the 6th and marching some 9 kilometres to Boves, 
a roundabout route being necessary to avoid crossing the sky line 
of a ridge, which was under enemy observation. 

Boves proved to be a medium sized town and in fairly good 
condition, though evacuated by the civilian population. Com 
fortable billets were secured by the 13th in the rue Victor Hugo, 
where the tired and hungry men were immediately provided with 
a hot meal by the Battalion Field Kitchens, which had preceded 
them. 

At 4.05 p.m. Lieut. A. T. Howard, fhe Acting Adjutant, issued 
an operation order which informed the troops that the Battalion 
would move forward in battle order at midnight. In accordance 
with this order, the Battalion advanced to the reserve area at the 
time mentioned, leaving the rear party, under Major I. M. R. Sin 
clair, M.C., in billets at Boves. 

Operation Order No. 193, which laid down the task to be accom 
plished in the forthcoming battle, may be summarized as follows : 

(1) General Plan: The 3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade will 
attack on the morning of the 8th instant with the following dis 
positions : 

16th Canadian Battalion On the right. 
13th Canadian Battalion In the centre. 
14th Canadian Battalion On the left. 
15th Canadian Battalion In centre support. 
5th Canadian Battalion In right support. 

(2) Objectives : The 13th Canadian Battalion will capture 
Hangard Wood West, all of Hangard Wood East and Creates 
Trench. The Battalion will consolidate on the Green Line. 

(3) Formation: "B" and "C" Companies will attack on the 
right and left, each with a two platoon frontage, with "A" and "D" 
Companies in right and left support respectively, who will do any 
necessary mopping up. 

(4) Relief: "B" and "C" Companies will take over the line 
from the 49th Australian Battalion and will post necessary cover 
ing patrols. 

(5) Direction : Intelligence Section will detail parties of four 
men each to maintain touch with 14th and 16th Battalions on flanks. 

[249] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

(6) Tanks: The following tanks will co-operate :- 

3 on left company frontage. 

4 on right company frontage. 

For these the Intelligence Section will supply 7 observers. 

(7) Aeroplanes : Contact aeroplanes will call for red ground 
flares, if these are available for issue. 

(8) Trench Mortars : Two trench mortars, under Lieut. Bain, 
will be attached to 13th Battalion Headquarters. 

(9) Communications: 3rd Brigade will maintain communica 
tions with Battalion Headquarters as it advances. Battalion Head 
quarters will operate a power buzzer with Brigade. Companies 
will endeavour to maintain visual communication with Battalion 
Headquarters. 

(10) Synchronization of Watches : A runner from each com 
pany will report at Battalion Headquarters at 7.30 p.m. with a 
watch, and companies on reporting that they are in jumping off 
positions will again send a watch for synchronization at new Bat 
talion H.Q. s. 

(11) Zero Hour: will be communicated by message at 
7.30 p.m. 

The advance of the Royal Highlanders into the line on the 
night of August 6th-7th was not entirely uneventful. The roads 
were jammed with traffic of all description and the roar of num 
erous exhausts was so loud that it seemed impossible the enemy 
could fail to hear it. Low flying aeroplanes were used in an at 
tempt, apparently successful, to drown the noise, for the Germans 
gave no sign that it had reached them, though they did shell to 
some extent, particularly at Taza Alley, where the burst of a 5.9 
caused the Battalion its first losses, Lieut. C. E. Hyde being in 
stantly killed and two other ranks wounded. 

During the day that followed fine weather proved a boon to 
the men, who lay around in shell holes and communication trenches, 
keeping all movement carefully concealed. No fires were per 
mitted and a strong force of aeroplanes patrolled all day to pre 
vent the enemy from observing the assembly. As two brigades 
were crowded into an area that would ordinarily accommodate one 
battalion, it was a literal fact that officers, in some cases, had to 
walk over the men while arranging dispositions. 

[250] 



THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 

Parties from the four companies and Battalion Headquarters 
reconnoitred their jumping off positions during the day, receiving 
every courtesy and much assistance from the officers and men of 
the 49th Australian Battalion, who were holding the line. As a 
result of this reconnaissance, Lieut. -Col. McCuaig discovered that 
there was a great deal of wire in Hangard Wood West, also a 
number of German strong posts. Accordingly it was arranged to 
have one of the tanks go through this section of the wood to assist 
in clearing these obstructions out of the way. 

At dusk the companies of the 13th began to move into their 
jumping off trenches in Hangard Wood West, completing the move 
and reporting themselves ready by 1.45 a.m. on the 8th instant. 
The Battalion was short of bombs and rifle grenades and had no 
ground flares, Very lights, or S.O.S. rockets. These deficiencies 
were regrettable, but were not likely to prove vital and in any 
case nothing could be done about them, as no supplies were 
available. 

At 2 a.m. Battalion Headquarters moved up into the front line 
to a quarry in Hangard Wood West and reported to Brigade that 
all was in order. Throughout the night the German artillery was 
active. Possibly they suspected a relief, but more probably they 
were the victims of that vague uneasiness by which some sixth 
sense so often conveys a warning to those in imminent danger. 

At 4.20 a.m. the barrage opened and immediately the men of 
the Canadian Corps, together with the Australians on their left, 
started out on their great adventure, while the French to the right 
began the shelling which preceded their attack. In speaking of 
the advance that ensued, the correspondent of the London "Times" 
wrote as follows : "In structure it was chiefly a Canadian battle. 
It was their advance on the Luce that was the core and crux of 
the operation, and on their progress depended the advance of both 
the Australians on their left and that of the successive French 
armies on their right, each of which was thrown in only as the 
advance above it prospered." 

In the first few minutes of the attack it was seen that visibility 
was going to be bad. A light ground mist prevailed and soon this 
was thickened by the dense smoke of the barrage until it was diffi 
cult to see more than ten or fifteen yards. This greatly hindered 
the work of the tanks detailed to co-operate with the 13th, as the 
crews could not see where the Infantry were having trouble. 

[251] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Very tragically, the first losses amongst the Royal Highlanders 
were caused by one of the supporting guns firing short, this being 
accounted for by the fact that, in order to keep the secret of the 
attack, many of the batteries had not been permitted to register 
on their targets before "zero." Some thirty casualties occurred 
from this cause, Capt. Campbell, the Battalion Medical Officer, 
and Capt. Boules, attached Machine Gun Officer, being wounded 
and Capt. N. M. MacLean, who had twice previously suffered 
wounds and whose career with the Battalion had been a distin 
guished one, being instantly killed. 

In clearing Hangard Wood the 13th ran up against several 
machine gun nests, which caused serious trouble. Lieut. A. N. 
Sclater, M.C., was killed whilst attacking these, as was Lieut. E. 
Creighton, while Capt. R. L. Calder, Lieut. N. A. McLean, Lieut. 
R. H. Morewood and Lieut. M. L. Brady were wounded. Lieut. 
Brady set a fine example of courage and endurance on this occasion, 
suffering three distinct wounds before he would admit himself 
hors-de-combat. 

Many of the rank and file gave splendid exhibitions of bravery 
and skill during the fighting in the Wood. The shortage of bombs 
was sharply felt in attacking the machine gun nests, the men being 
compelled to outflank these instead of using the quick and effective 
method of smashing them up with bombs and rifle grenades. 

A splendid piece of work of this nature was performed by 
Private J. B. Croak of "A" Coy., who, single handed, attacked a 
machine gun nest in Ring Copse, silenced the gun with a well 
directed bomb from the scanty supply available and took the whole 
crew prisoners. Shortly after this Croak was severely wounded 
in the right arm, but his fighting blood was thoroughly up and 
he refused point blank to retire from the line. In the course of 
the advance that followed, his platoon encountered another strong 
point, from which several machine guns were firing with disas 
trous effect. With no bombs available, Croak organized a rush 
and was the first to reach the objective. Once at grips with the 
enemy, the little party of Royal Highlanders overcame all resis 
tance. A moment of fierce work with the bayonet and all was over, 
three machine guns and several prisoners falling into the attackers 
hands. Very unfortunately, Private Croak was again wounded, 
this time fatally, in the moment before the last resistance was over 
come. He died within a few minutes. 

[252] 



THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 

Somewhat similar and equally fine was the work of Corporal 
J. H. Good, of "D" Coy., who, alone, charged a nest of three 
machine guns and killed or captured the crews. Later, when the 
advance had penetrated deep into the German lines and was push 
ing forward to its final objective, this same N.C.O. discovered a 
battery of 5.9-inch guns, in action and pounding the Canadian ad 
vance and rear. To charge a battery of 5.9 s with a force which 
consisted of himself and three privates might seem the act of a 
madman, but Corp. Good realized that the gun crews were not 
trained in hand-to-hand fighting and that, once at grips, he and 
his stout-hearted companions would have an advantage sufficient, 
possibly, to offset their appalling inferiority in numbers. Accord 
ingly he and his party charged. What the German gunners thought 
when this assault was launched, no man will ever know. Perhaps 
in the drill and text books they had studied no instructions 
were given as to procedure when four Canadian Highlanders 
charged a battery with the obvious intent of doing bodily harm. 
Be that as it may, the battery surrendered and the four High 
landers found themselves owners of three excellent guns and mas 
ters of a good sized batch of prisoners. 

Soon after zero hour, Lieut. -Col. McCuaig decided that he 
would move his Battalion Headquarters forward, as the fog rend 
ered visual signalling impossible and he was anxious not to lose 
touch with the advance. The wisdom of this course soon mani 
fested itself, for by map and compass he was able to keep the at 
tack of his own Battalion headed in the right direction and at the 
same time to redirect many parties from other units whom the 
dense mist had led astray. 

Having surmounted the obstacles presented by the machine 
gun nests in Hangard Wood, the attack of the 13th swept victori 
ously forward, capturing prisoners, killing those who resisted and 
taking several batteries of enemy guns. The list of these, com 
piled when the engagement was over, presented a gratifying total, 
comprising as it did, four 3-inch field guns, four 4.1-inch guns, 
four 4.1-inch howitzers, four 5.9-inch howitzers, three 8-inch 
howitzers, four 3-inch light trench mortars, four 6-}4-inch medium 
trench mortars and thirty-one machine guns. 

When the attack of the Royal Highlanders reached Creates 
Trench it was held up for forty-five minutes by a series of machine 
guns whose crews fought most stubbornly. In their efforts to 

[253] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

overcome this resistance the men of the 13th were greatly handi 
capped by the lack of bombs. Rifle fire was ineffective and two 
tanks, which went forward in response to the Infantry s request 
for aid, were put out of commission as soon as they got astride the 
trench and before they could deal with its occupants. Eventually, 
two Stokes guns were brought up and opened fire. After a few 
rounds from these had burst in the enemy position, a shirt, once 
white, appeared on the end of a rifle and the German garrison 
surrendered. 

By 8 o clock in the morning the assault of the 3rd Brigade had 
penetrated 5,000 yards into the German positions and had reached 
its objective, the so-called Green Line. Halting at this point in 
accordance with orders, the 13th Battalion consolidated and re 
formed its ranks, while the Infantry of the 2nd Canadian Brigade 
passed through to carry the attack on. Then, wonder of wonders, 
up from the rear in jingling array came squadron after squadron 
of British Cavalry. 

Long before night had fallen it was clear that the Battle of 
Amiens had resulted in a great victory. At the close of the day s 
operations the troops engaged had completed an advance of be 
tween six and seven miles ; ten thousand prisoners had been cap 
tured, nearly one hundred and fifty guns had been taken, while 
booty, consisting of vast stores of ammunition and supplies of all 
kinds, had fallen into the victors hands. 

"The brilliant and predominating part taken by the Canadian 
and Australian Corps in this battle," says Sir Douglas Haig, "is 
worthy of the highest commendation. The skill and determination 
of these troops proved irresistible and at all points met with rapid 
and complete success." 

II 

Meanwhile, the 13th Battalion in the Green Line was busily 
employed in evacuating its wounded and burying its dead. In both 
of these tasks the Battalion Chaplain, Capt. E. E. Graham, M.C., 
assisted the Tump Line Section with tireless energy. 

Following a comparatively quiet night, the Battalion advance 
at 9 a.m. to a position in Claude Wood, moving forward again in 
the afternoon to a wood east of Beaucourt-en-Santerre. At 
point the Battalion found accommodation in a series of German 
huts that occupied by Headquarters being a particularly elaborate 

[254] 



THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 

affair, with stained glass windows, which the gentle Hun had un 
doubtedly looted from one of the neighbouring churches. At 9 p.m. 
the Battalion moved forward into close support of the 2nd Brigade, 
east of Warvillers Wood, reaching this position and digging in 
shortly before 3 o clock in the morning. 

August 10th was marked by heavy fighting on the part of the 
3rd and 4th Canadian Divisions and on the part of the 32nd British 
Division, which had passed under the command of the Canadian 
Corps the previous night. Little effect of this fighting was felt by 
the 13th, which remained quietly in the position east of Warvillers 
Wood, resting and preparing for whatever further service might 
be required. A marvelous view of the 4th Division s attack was 
obtained by a small group of officers who mounted to the top of 
a 70-foot observation tower in the centre of the Wood, but this 
did not last long, for a low flying German plane spotted the group 
and drove them to earth with a few rounds from a machine gun. 

August llth also passed quietly, though in the afternoon a 
large number of enemy planes appeared and succeeded in bring 
ing down a British observation balloon in flames, a stray machine 
gun bullet, presumably from this attack, wounding one of the 
Highlanders signallers. At 9 p.m. the Battalion moved forward 
a short distance to a position where dugouts and shelters were 
occupied for the night. 

Beautiful weather, which had marked the period from the open 
ing of the battle, continued on the 12th. This day was compara 
tively uneventful for the Battalion, except for the fact that a draft 
was received, consisting of Lieuts. H. H. Chanter, W. T. Hornby, 
W. A. Ramsay, W. E. Dunning and H. G. Lawton, together with 
118 other ranks. Lieuts. S. T. Barratt and H. H. Nobbs followed 
this draft on the 13th and 14th of the month respectively. 

On August 13th Sir Arthur Currie issued a "Special Order," 
which read in part as follows : 

"The first stage of the Battle of Amiens is over, and one of the 
most successful operations conducted by the Allied Armies since 
the war began is now a matter of history. The Canadian Corps 
has every right to feel more than proud of the part it played." 
On August 8th "the Canadian Corps to which was attached the 
3rd Cavalry Division, the 4th Tank Brigade, the 5th Squadron 
R A.F. attacked on a front of 7,500 yards. After a penetration 
of 22,000 yards the line to-night rests on a 10,000 yards frontage. 

1 255 ] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Sixteen German Divisions have been identified, of which four have 
been completely routed. Nearly 150 guns have been captured, 
while over a thousand machine guns have fallen into our hands. 
Ten thousand prisoners have passed through our cages and casu 
alty clearing stations, a number greatly in excess of our total 
casualties 

"From the depths of a very full heart I wish to thank all Staffs 
and Services and to congratulate you all on the wonderful suc 
cess achieved. Let us remember our gallant dead, whose spirit 
will ever be with us, inspiring us to nobler effort, and when the 
call again comes, be it soon or otherwise, I know the same measure 
of success will be yours." 

On the 13th and 14th of the month the Royal Highlanders re 
mained in their reserve position, deeply interested in all that went 
on around them and in the news from the fighting line, whence 
they awaited a call. At 3.30 p.m. on the 15th orders were received 
that the Battalion would proceed forward at night to relieve the 
Sister Unit, the 42nd Royal Highlanders of Canada, which, under 
the command of Lieut.-Col. R. L. H. Ewing, had been engaged 
in a dashing and highly successful, but costly, series of operations 
near Parvillers. Preparations for this relief were at once begun, 
the rear details, who previously had moved up to a position not 
far from that occupied by the Battalion proper, moving back to 
where the other rear details of the 3rd Brigade were stationed. 
At 9 p.m. the main section of the Battalion started forward. The 
march on this occasion was rendered extremely unpleasant by 
the appalling smell from scores of dead cavalry horses which lay 
scattered over the fields en route ; also by the threat from enemy 
bombing planes, which were active over the whole area. No mis 
fortune occurred, however, and relief of the 42nd was completed 
about midnight. 

Ill 

Having taken over the new sector, which lay about 1,000 yards 
north of Parvillers, the Royal Highlanders quickly familiarized 
themselves with their surroundings and prepared for all eventuali 
ties. Early on the morning of August 16th two French prisoners 
of war who had escaped from a German prison camp made their 
way into the Highlanders lines. Food and drink were at once 
given to these men, who, after they had expressed their thanks 

[256] 




A TROPHY. AMIEXS, AUGUST STH, 1918. 

Canadian Official, Copyright. 




THE DROCOURT-QI-EANT LINE, SEPTEMBER. 1918. 

Canadian Official, Copyright. 



THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 

and appreciation, were forwarded to Brigade H.Q. Later in the 
morning- the Battalion received a visit from Brig.-Gen. Tuxford, 
who was accompanied by Brig.-Gen. W. O. H. Dodds, of the Cana 
dian Artillery. While these visitors were looking over the front 
and discussing questions of mutual interest with Lieut-Col. 
McCuaig, General Tuxford was called to the telephone and in 
formed that a German retirement on the Canadian front was con 
sidered possible on account of a successful attack which the 
French were even at the moment pushing against Roye. As a 
result of this information, General Tuxford ordered the Battalion 
to push out battle patrols against the village of la Chavatte, in 
an attempt to judge from the character of the opposition encoun 
tered whether the suggested German withdrawal was seriously 
contemplated. 

Accordingly, after fifteen minutes preliminary bombardment, 
two patrols of 30 men each, under Lieut. J. Kerry and Lieut. W. T. 
Hornby respectively, moved forward. Having progressed some 
distance, Lieut. Kerry halted his party and advanced up a com 
munication trench with four companions, driving in a small Ger 
man outpost en route. Heavy fire was then opened by the enemy, 
at least seven machine guns being in action at the same time, as 
well as a number of rifle grenadiers. The fact that the German 
line was held in considerable strength having been definitely 
established and several men having become casualties, Lieut. 
Kerry, who had been slightly wounded by a grenade, issued orders 
for the party to withdraw. 

Adopting tactics similar to those employed by Kerry, Lieut. 
Hornby led his party to the outskirts of la Chavatte, where strong 
opposition was encountered and Hornby painfully, but not seri 
ously, wounded in the head by an enemy machine gun. In face 
of this opposition it was quite useless to proceed and the patrol 
was accordingly withdrawn. 

From 4.30 to 4.53 p.m. the village was subjected to heavy artil 
lery fire, but patrols which reconnoitred immediately afterwards 
reported that the enemy was still holding the position in strength. 
Again at 7 p.m. the artillery opened up and fired till 7.30, but still 
the bombardment produced no weakening of the enemy s hold. 
About 9 p.m. Brigade reported that troops of the 2nd Canadian 
Division had advanced and were established in Posen Trench to 

[257] 
17 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

the north of la Chavatte. Patrols from "D" Coy. checked this 
report, confirmation of which was duly sent to Brigade. 

By this time it had become obvious that the enemy had no in 
tention of retiring voluntarily from la Chavatte and that measures 
more strenuous than battle patrols would be required to make 
him do so. Accordingly, Lieut.-Col. McCuaig called a conference 
of his company commanders to arrange an attack. Disposition 
of the companies at this time was as follows : "D" Coy., under 
Major W. E. Macfarlane, M.C., held the left front, while "A" Coy., 
under Capt. D. B. Donald, held the right front. In support on 
the left was "C" Coy., commanded by Lieut. C. D. Llwyd, M.C., 
while "B" Coy,, with Lieut. J. B. Beddome m command, was in 
support on the right. 

As a result of the conference arrangements were made for an 
enveloping operation to take place on the following day. Before 
dawn on the 17th "A" and "D" Companies went forward in accord 
ance with these arrangements, the former up Sottises Alley, a 
communication trench which lay to the right of la Chavatte, and 
the latter up Peloponese Alley, a similar trench which lay to the 
left, "B" and "C" Companies immediately occupying the front line 
positions which "A" and "D" vacated. At 4.30 a.m. the attacking 
companies commenced to envelop la Chavatte from the south and 
north, each company at the same time sending one platoon up com 
munication trenches to attack the position frontally. "D" Coy. 
pushed through la Chavatte Village from the north and continued 
its advance to a point in Sottises Alley, up which "A" Coy. was 
making its way. Here in a brilliant little operation, from which 
"D" Coy. emerged without a single casualty, three men of the 
56th German R.I.R. were killed and about a dozen, together with 
several machine guns, captured. 

Meanwhile, Lieut. O. B. Krenchel, with a party from "D" Coy. 
pushed up Rothard Alley, which ran past the village on the north 
and was in effect a continuation of Peloponese Alley, up which 
"D" Coy. had originally advanced. In the course of his move for 
ward Lieut. Krenchel took two prisoners and established a strong 
post in Rothard Alley at a point previously selected. When this 
task was accomplished, he took forward a small patrol to recon 
noitre Oberon Trench and a railway track, which crossed the line 
of the Highlanders advance. This position he found to be 

strongly held. 

[ 258 ] 



THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 

By this time the main bodies of "A" and "D" Companies had 
completed their enveloping- operation and had effected a junction 
in Sottises Alley. Lieut.-Col. McCuaig then came up to look over 
the situation and distributed the platoons of "A" and "D" Com 
panies to hold the ground captured in the strongest possible man 
ner. After dark that same night "A" and "D" Companies dug in 
posts of sections at intervals from Sottises Alley on the right to 
the Divisional Boundary on the left, thus rendering the captured 
area safe from anything less than a counter attack in strength. In 
view of the neat success which had been achieved and of the fact 
that casualties had been held to a minimum, the Battalion had 
every reason to be content with the result of the day s operation. 

Early on the following morning Lieut. W. T. Hornby took out 
a patrol and surprised a small German post, whose garrison 
promptly retired. Entering the post, Hornby secured three packs 
and brought them back to the Canadian lines, where, on examina 
tion of the contents, it was discovered that the owners belonged 
to the 2nd Jaeger Battalion, a fact which the Canadian Intelligence 
was glad to have confirmed. 

The night of the 18th and early morning of the 19th were spent 
by the Royal Highlanders in connecting up and otherwise strength 
ening the series of posts established after the capture of la Cha- 
vatte. The enemy was quiet all night and the work, in consequence, 
made rapid progress. About 10.30 o clock in the morning Lieut. 
H. H. Chanter advanced with a patrol up the continuation of Sot 
tises Alley and drove off the garrison of a German post. Return 
ing to this same spot at about 5 p.m., accompanied by Private 
Kamal Khan, a Gurkha, who by some queer turn of fate had en 
listed in the Canadian Forces and been forwarded to the Royal 
Highlanders in a draft, Lieut. Chanter entered the post and dis 
covered that the enemy had once more forgotten their packs. From 
three, which he and Kamal Khan brought back and which were 
forwarded at once to Brigade, identification of the 56th German 
R.I.R. was secured. 

During the period under review the 13th Battalion was sup 
ported by the 5th Canadian Divisional Artillery, which had been 
formed in England some time previous to this, but which had never 
before the Battle of Amiens taken part as a unit in any great en 
gagement. The Royal Highlanders have stated in their official 
records that the support received at this time was well up to the 

[259] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

high standard which the work of the other Divisional Artilleries 
had led them to expect. 

At 9.20 p.m. German shell fire became heavy in the forward 
area and observers at Battalion Headquarters reported that an 
S.O.S. had gone up on the front of the 4th Canadian Division to 
the left. Five minutes later an S.O.S. rose to the right, but, as 
telephone communication to the front line companies had been cut, 
it was not clear at Battalion Headquarters whether this had risen 
from a point in the 13th lines, or from the lines of the 16th Bat 
talion on the flank. In any case no harm would be done by lay 
ing down a barrage, so Lieut. -Col. McCuaig called on the artillery 
for S.O.S. fire. After several minutes of this, he requested the 
guns to drop to "slow," until the exact situation could be ascer 
tained. At 9.53 p.m. runners from the two front line companies 
reported that the affair seemed to have no particular significance 
and that nothing in the nature of an attack was developing on their 
respective fronts, although a few casualties had occurred from the 
shelling. Judging from this that support was not needed, the 
Colonel, at 9.55 p.m., requested the artillery to "cease fire." Early 
on the morning of the 20th a deserter from the 56th German R.I.R. 
made his way into the Highlanders line. On being questioned, 
this individual stated that his Regiment had planned to raid the 
front line on the previous night, but that enthusiasm for the pro 
ject had waned when the Germans saw the promptness and heard 
the crash of the Canadian S.O.S. barrage. 

During the whole tour the enemy kept dropping an occasional 
gas shell into the Highlanders area, increasing the number at 
night. As no gas proof dugouts were available and as it was im 
possible to wear helmets at all times, this caused great inconveni 
ence to all ranks and gas casualties mounted to a total of nearly 
40, amongst those who suffered being Lieuts. J. E. Christie, J. S. 

* 

1 

275 all ranks, 56 of these being killed, 217 wounded and 2 missing. 

Patrols were out again on the morning of August 21st, check 
ing up the situation on the front in preparation for a relief. At 
dusk the 4th Canadian Division on the left took over a section of 
the 13th front and when this movement was complete, the 112th 
Regiment of French Infantry relieved the Royal Highlanders, who 
moved back to bivouacs in an orchard near Beaufort. Consid- 

[260] 



*_ 

Buchanan, and L. C. Drummond. Not including these, battle 
casualties incurred between the 8th and 21st of August totalled 



THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 

erable significance attached to the fact that the French were taking 
over the area, as it indicated to thoughtful observers that the Cana 
dian Corps was being withdrawn and was probably off on another 
high adventure. Where, or when, this would take place, no one 
knew. All that seemed certain was that the Corps, flushed with 
victory and at the top of its form, would not wait long for an 
opportunity to test its mettle again. 



[261] 



CHAPTER XX 

The Second Battles of Arras, 1918 

But hark ! a heavy sound breaks in once more, 

As if the clouds its echoes would repeat : 

And nearer, clearer, deadlier than before, 

Arm ! Arm ! it is it is the cannon s opening roar, 

BYRON. 

I 

WHEN the Canadian Corps was withdrawn from the scene 
of its triumph at Amiens, the task placed before it was 
nothing less than the smashing of the immensely strong 
Hindenburg line in front of Arras. On August 22nd the plan was 
communicated to Sir Arthur Currie, who describes it, in outline, 
as follows : 

"The Canadian Corps, on the right of the First Army, was to 
attack eastwards astride the Arras-Cambrai Road, and by forcing 
its way through the Drocourt-Queant Line south of the Scarpe to 
break the hinge of the Hindenburg System and prevent the pos 
sibility of the enemy rallying behind this powerfully organized 
defended area." 

"The four main systems of defence," continues the Corps Com 
mander, "consisted of the following lines : 

(1) The old German front line system east of Monchy-le-Preux. 

(2) The Fresnes-Rouvroy Line. 

(3) The Drocourt-Queant Line. 

(4) The Canal du Nord Line. 

"These, with their subsidiary switches and strong points, as 
well as the less organized but by no means weak intermediate lines 
of trenches, made the series of positions to be attacked without 
doubt one of the strongest defensively on the Western Front." 

Little time could be given to Sir Arthur Currie to prepare for 
this vast operation, which it was obvious would involve sustained 
fighting such as even the Corps, with all its proud record, had 
never up to this time encountered. Three days only he had, but 
much was accomplished in that short time and it was with every 

[262] 



THE SECOND BATTLES OF ARRAS, 1918 

hope of success that the 2nd and 3rd Canadian Divisions opened 
the battle on the morning of August 26th. Nor was this hope of 
success denied realization, for by night, as the result of dour right 
ing, Monchy-le-Preux, Guemappe, Wancourt Tower and the top 
of Heninel Ridge were in Canadian hands. Renewing the attack 
at 4.55 a.m. on August 27th, the 2nd and 3rd Divisions pushed dog 
gedly forward, the former capturing Cherisy and crossing the 
Sensee River, while the latter captured the Bois du Vert and the 
Bois du Sart and drove its assault to the outskirts of Haucourt, 
Remy, Boiry Notre-Dame and Pelves. It was during the bitter 
fighting on this and the following day that Lieut.-Col. W. H. 
Clark-Kennedy, an original officer of the 13th Battalion and at the 
time Commanding Officer of the 24th Battalion, Victoria Rifles of 
Canada, led his unit with a display of personal bravery that aroused 
the admiration of all who witnessed it and won a well deserved V.C. 
It had been intended to withdraw the 2nd and 3rd Canadian 
Divisions after the fighting of the 27th and to renew the assault 
on the 28th with the 1st Canadian and the attached 4th British 
Division, but this was found impossible and the divisions in the 
line were ordered to "carry on." Accordingly the 3rd Division 
drove forward once more, capturing Boiry and Pelves before being 
relieved at midnight by the 4th British Division. Meanwhile the 
2nd Division also attacked, but encountered opposition of the very 
strongest character and made but limited progress. Casualties 
were very heavy, particularly in the 5th Brigade, which in two 
days fighting lost over 100 officers and 2,500 men. In the 22nd 
French-Canadian Battalion, every officer engaged was killed or 
wounded, while in several other battalions casualties were almost 
as heavy. At night the 2nd Division was relieved by the 1st Can 
adian Division. 

II 

With the entry of the 1st Canadian Division into the Second 
Battles of Arras, 1918, it seems fitting to turn back a few days to 
follow the fortunes of the 13th Battalion which, at the end of the 
previous chapter, had just concluded its part in the Battle of 
Amiens. 

After relief by the French, the Royal Highlanders marched back, 
as previously mentioned, and spent the night of August 21st in 
bivouacs in an orchard near Beaufort. On August 22nd the whole 

[263] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

trench strength of the Battalion bathed at Beaufort and le Quesnel 
and removed the sweat and grime of the long tour in the line. At 
9.05 p.m. the companies left their bivouacs and marched steadily, 
through Beaucourt-en-Santerre, where they narrowly missed a 
bombing attack; through Demuin, where the moonlight empha 
sized the pitiful aspect of stark rafters and shell torn walls ; and 
on to Morgemont Wood, where the men found shelter for the 
night, some under derelict tanks, some actually inside these mon 
sters, but the majority on bare ground in the shadow of the trees. 

Following a day of rest and comparative idleness, the Battalion 
paraded at 8.30 p.m. and marched back in battle order to com 
fortable billets in the rue Victor Hugo, in Boves. Here another 
quiet day was spent, many of the men enjoying a bathe in one or 
other of the various pools just outside the town. 

"D" Coy., acting as an entraining party for the Battalion, 
moved off to Saleux at 7.30 a.m. on August 25th, the Transport 
following at midnight and the Battalion proper at 3 o clock on the 
morning of the 26th. At the very moment when the Royal High 
landers marched from Boves, far away to the north the 2nd and 
3rd Canadian Divisions were plunging across No Man s Land in 
the opening engagement of the Second Battles of Arras. 

Breakfast was waiting for the men of the 13th when they com 
pleted the eight mile march to Saleux Station and dinner was also 
eaten at this spot. Shortly after dinner the men entrained and at 
1 p.m. the train moved off to Aubigny, whence busses conveyed 
the men to Dainville. From this point the Battalion marched to 
Achicourt, reaching its destination at about 2.30 a.m. on the 27th. 

After a few hours sleep preparations were made to move at 
noon, but these orders were cancelled at the last minute and the 
men spent the afternoon in preparing comfortable sleeping quar 
ters for the night. Alas ! this work was useless for, in obedience 
to later orders, the Battalion marched at 7.30 p.m. to a position in 
the Neuville Vitasse area. Here a quiet day was spent and at 
night the Battalion moved forward to relieve elements of the gal 
lant 5th and 6th Brigades in the front line, the rear details, under 
Major Sinclair, also moving forward and occupying old trenches 
and dugouts near Beaurains. 

On August 29th Major-General A. C. Macdonell, commanding 
the 1st Canadian Division, was informed of the plans of the Army 
Commander for an assault on the Drocourt-Queant Line. This 

[264] 



THE SECOND BATTLES OF ARRAS, 1918 

extensive operation was to have taken place on the morning of 
September 1st, but at the last moment plans had to be changed 
and zero hour postponed till the early morning of September 2nd. 
Meanwhile, in preparation for the great attack, minor assaults, 
involving severe righting, had to be carried out at various points 
on the Corps front, to straighten the line and provide satisfactory 
jumping off positions. On the front of the 1st Canadian Division, 
these operations were entrusted for the most part to the 1st Bri 
gade, with elements of the 2nd Brigade also involved. Reliable 
as always, these fine troops accomplished the tasks allotted to 
them, in spite of the fact that the Germans, alarmed by the way 
the attacks were uncovering vital defences, fought bitterly and 
threw into the fray a considerable number of reserves. 

With "A" and "D" Companies in the front line and "B" and 
"C" in close support, the 13th Battalion spent the 29th of August 
in definitely locating the line held and in consolidating the area. 
Four other ranks were killed by shell-fire during the day and seven 
wounded. The Battalion Medical Officer, Capt. H. A. Cochrane, 
was also wounded, but remained on duty, while Major E. E. 
Graham, M.C., the Battalion Chaplain, together with his batman, 
gave a splendid exhibition of courage and devotion by carrying to 
the Regimental Aid Post, under heavy fire, a number of men of the 
22nd Battalion who had been wounded in the fighting of the pre 
vious day. 

Following the operations of the 1st Canadian Infantry Brigade 
on August 30th, reconnoitring parties of the 13th Battalion went 
forward and examined the ground captured. Later "A" and "D" 
Companies moved up into the captured area, with "B" and "C" 
also advancing in support. Capt. D. B. Donald was wounded on 
this date. 

Further adjustment in the disposition of the companies took 
place on August 31st. Then, at 4.50 a.m. on September 1st, the 
14th Royal Montreal Regiment and the 15th (48th Highlanders), 
Toronto, in conjunction with units of the 171st British Brigade 
on the right and the 2nd Canadian Brigade on the left, advanced 
the line of the 3rd Canadian Brigade, completing preparations for 
the assault on the Drocourt-Queant Line. During the advance of 
the 14th and 15th Battalions on September 1st, the 13th and 16th 
Battalions followed in close support. 

Late on the afternoon of September 1st, details of the attack 

[265] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

which was to take place on the following morning were explained 
to the 13th company commanders. Unfortunately, no means 
could be found of giving the men anything but the scantiest out 
line of the plan, as they were scattered in shell holes and dugouts 
and no. assembly was possible. Even the officers were forced to 
study the plan hastily, as maps did not arrive till after dark, nor 
final orders till 11 p.m. In spite of these grave drawbacks, the 
spirits of the men, who had been living on cold food and in most 
uncomfortable surroundings for four days, rose splendidly at news 
of the assault and it was a confident Battalion that awaited the 
word to go "over." 

In outline, the plan of attack was as follows : 

The 1st Canadian Division was to attack on a two brigade 
frontage, the 2nd Brigade on the left and the 3rd Brigade on the 
right, with the 1st Brigade in Divisional Reserve. To the right 
of the 3rd Brigade was the 57th (West Lanes) T. Division. The 
.3rd Brigade was to attack on a front of two battalions with the 
16th Canadian Scottish on the right and the 13th Battalion, Royal 
Highlanders of Canada, on the left. The 14th and 15th Battalions 
were to follow in support. When the 13th on its front had smashed 
the Drocourt-Queant Line and had reached the Drocourt-Queant 
Support, the 14th Battalion was to "leap-frog" the 13th and drive 
the attack through the village of Cagnicourt and against the Buissy 
Switch Line, the 13th following in close support and mopping up 
where necessary. "A" and "D" Companies, under the command 
of Lieut. W. D. C. Christie and Major W. E. Macfarlane, M.C., 
respectively, were selected to lead the assault of the 13th with "B" 
and "C" Companies following immediately behind. 

Late on the night of September 1st, the companies moved up 
into their jumping off positions. There was little shelling on this 
occasion and the night was clear, consequently assembly was re 
ported complete at 2 a.m. on September 2nd. 

Three hours later the blast of the rolling barrage struck the 
German trenches and in its wake the companies of the Royal 
Highlanders moved forward. As was so often the case, casualties 
in the first few minutes of the attack were light. The German 
barrage was slow in falling and little machine gun fire was en 
countered in the front line, accordingly this obstacle was speedily 
surmounted and the attacking waves pushed on towards the sup 
port line. On approaching this position, which was the Battalion s 

[266] 



THE SECOND BATTLES OF ARRAS, 1918 

first objective, Major Macfarlane took advantage of the shelter 
provided by a small ridge to line up his company for the charge, 
he himself leading the assault and bayoneting three of the enemy 
who contested his advance. At 7.10 a.m. he sent up three white 
flares as a signal that the trench was definitely in his possession. 
Simultaneously Lieut. Christie on the right led his company into 
the first objective. 

Casualties in the 13th up to this time had been surprisingly 
light. "D" Coy. had suffered only ten and the other companies 
had also escaped easily, in spite of the fact that they had captured 
and sent to the rear some hundreds of German prisoners. This 
state of affairs was quite too good to last and soon machine gun fire 
from the front and right flank began to cause sharp losses. 

At this stage of the battle, while the 13th was waiting in the 
German reserve line for the 14th Battalion to "leap-frog," a bat 
talion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers was discovered to have 
missed direction and to have penetrated over 1,000 yards across 
the Canadian frontage. This unit, which had lost heavily, was un 
certain as to its whereabouts, but Lieut. -Col. McCuaig redirected 
it towards its objective on the exposed right flank. 

At 8 a.m. the 14th Battalion passed through the Royal High 
landers and advanced against the village of Cagnicourt, followed 
closely by the companies of the 13th. This stage of the advance 
was hotly contested and both battalions suffered severely. Machine 
gun fire was very heavy, especially from the neighbourhood of 
Villers lez Cagnicourt on the left and from points on the right 
flank. In addition, a battery of German field guns was firing at 
point blank range on the left front, while shells were also crash 
ing into the advance from the right flank. 

Heavy casualties amongst officers of the 13th and 14th as a 
result of this shelling and enfilade fire brought about some con 
fusion. Accordingly, Lieut.-Col. Worrall, of the 14th, went for 
ward to see for himself just how the situation lay. Lieut.-Col. 
McCuaig also went forward and, meeting Worrall, who was mak 
ing his way back, the two established joint headquarters at a point 
somewhat to the left of Cagnicourt Village. Orders were then 
forwarded to the men of the 13th to "stand fast" until the situa 
tion could be cleared. At the time these orders were received "D" 
Coy. was in captured gun pits and trenches northeast of the vil 
lage, while the remaining three companies had advanced some 

[267] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

1200 yards further and were extended between the Bois de Loison 
and the Bois de Bouche. 

About 3 p.m. orders were received for the attack to be pushed 
against the Buissy Switch Line. Accordingly, the troops moved 
forward between the woods and drove their assault up a long com 
munication trench, known as Queer Street. Heavy fire was en 
countered during this move and eventually the attack was brought 
to a standstill, but fresh troops took over the assault and carried 
the operation to a successful conclusion. 

When the Highlanders were relieved by troops of the 1st Bri 
gade, they moved back to a position in the Drocourt-Queant sup 
port line, arriving at 3 o clock on the morning of September 3rd. 
Here the men rested for a few hours and then undertook the work 
of strengthening the position in case of counter attack. Previous 
to this, attention had been given to the evacuation of the wounded 
and burial of the dead. 

In the support position the Battalion had its first opportunity 
to check the result of the previous day s operations. On the debit 
side of the account was a casualty list of approximately 230. Lieut. 
O. B. Krenchel had been killed, together with 32 other ranks, while 
Major W. E. Macfarlane, M.C., Lieuts. W. D. C. Christie, J. B. 
Beddome, H. Newman, H. H. Chanter, I. L. Ibbotson, S. T. Bar- 
ratt, H. G. Lawton and approximately 150 other ranks had been 
wounded. Of the officers who appeared on this list, Major Mac 
farlane and Lieut. Chanter had each suffered wounds on three pre 
vious occasions. 

While the loss of so many experienced officers and men was 
serious, the other side of the account presented an appearance sat 
isfactory in a high degree. Above all else the Drocourt-Queant 
Line had been broken utterly, and approaches gained for an attack 
on the Canal du Nord. Thus the Canadian Corps, assisted by the 
splendid 4th British Division, was the first of the Allied Armies 
to breach the supposedly impregnable Hindenburg system of de 
fence which, once broken, crumbled rapidly before the hammer 
strokes subsequently launched against it. 

While all the advantages of the victory were not clear to the 
Royal Highlanders on the morning of September 3rd, every 
moment emphasized the extent of the German rout on their particu 
lar front. Far exceeding the 230 casualties in the 13th was the 
number of prisoners the Battalion had captured. No exact count 

[268] 



THE SECOND BATTLES OF ARRAS, 1918 

of these had been kept, for as fast as they were gathered in the 
Battalion had bundled them off to the rear, but it was certain that 
their number exceeded 750 and probably approached 1,000. In 
addition to prisoners, the 13th had captured twelve 77 mm. field 
guns, as well as a large number of machine guns and a consid 
erable quantity of enemy stores. With regard to the prisoners 
it is of interest to note that some of these, according to their own 
statements, were peacefully sleeping 45 kilometres behind their line 
when the battle opened. They were rushed forward in all manner 
of conveyances, thrown into the battle in a desperate effort to stop 
the Canadian advance, and found themselves prisoners and on the 
way to the Canadian rear before the sun crossed the meridian. 

After two fairly quiet days in the Drocourt-Queant support 
position, the Royal Highlanders marched back to a point near 
Cherisy on the afternoon of September 4th and proceeded thence 
by bus to Dainville, where they remained for a fortnight. The 
two weeks at Dainville were devoted to routine training, training 
of all specialists, such as Signallers, Machine Gunners, Rifle 
Grenadiers, Tump Line Section, Intelligence Section and Stretcher 
Bearers, and also to refitting and preparing for the next tour in 
the line. Several drafts of officers and men were taken on strength 
and distributed to the various companies in proportion to the casu 
alties suffered in the recent engagements. 

Of great interest to all ranks was a series of lists announcing 
the award of honours and decorations gained by officers and men 
during the operations at Hangard Wood on August 8th. Heading 
one of these lists, to the great satisfaction of the whole Battalion, 
was the name of Lieut-Col. G. E. McCuaig, C.M.G., D.S.O., who 
received a Bar to his D.S.O. Next on this same list came Lieut. 
W. D. C. Christie, who was awarded the D.S.O. Christie had been 
wounded in the more recent Battle of Arras, and was at this time 
fighting gamely for his life in hospital. It was with regret that 
the Highlanders heard on September 17th that the odds had proved 
too strong and that this brave officer had succumbed to his injuries. 
In addition to the honours to Lieut-Col. McCuaig and Lieut. 
Christie, it was announced that the Military Cross had been 
awarded to Capt. R. L. Calder, Capt. H. A. Johnston, and to 
Lieuts. M. L. Brady, K. G. Blackader, J. Lothian and L. C. Drum- 
mond, while the Distinguished Conduct Medal had been granted 
to eleven other ranks and the Military Medal to forty-three, 

[269] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

amongst these last being Sergt. L. G. Woodward, of "D" Coy., 
who had previously won the D.C.M. A Bar to the Military Medal 
was awarded to Corp. W. Hamilton, of "A" Coy. 

On September 12th the Battalion received a visit from Sir 
Arthur Currie, who was accompanied by Brig.-Gen. G. S. Tuxford. 
Both these expressed themselves as satisfied with what they saw 
of the Highlanders training and congratulated the unit on its gen 
eral bearing during the march past. Two days later Lieut.-Col. G. 
E. McCuaig, C.M.G., D.S.O., left the 13th Battalion to assume 
command of the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade. While all ranks 
were pleased to see the Colonel receive such well deserved promo 
tion, they realized with regret that the honour, of necessity, meant 
the severance of his connection with the Battalion which he had 
served so long and faithfully and led so well. On his departure, 
command of the unit was assumed by Major I. M. R. Sinclair, M.C., 
an officer who had joined the Battalion in Canada and whose record 
since that time gave assurance that the chain of distinguished lead 
ership which the Royal Highlanders had enjoyed from the begin 
ning was not now to be broken. 



[270] 



CHAPTER XXI 

The Canal du Nord 

The roll of honour stretched from sea to sea, 

The loyal lands that bred them 

The gallant souls that led them 

The deaths they died that Britons might be free. 

From St. James Budget. 
I 

DURING the month of September, 1918, the Allied Armies 
delivered blow after blow against the combined forces of 
Germany, Austria, Bulgaria and Turkey, increasing these 
in force as the enemy showed signs of cracking under the strain 
and as victory, without another weary winter of trench warfare, 
became a distinct possibility. Simultaneously with the victory of 
the Canadian Corps at Arras, British and Australian troops swept 
across the old battlefields of the Somme, wresting Bapaume and 
Peronne from the German grasp and capturing thousands of pris 
oners. By the middle of the month the British were close to St. 
Quentin, while the French had driven their assault to the out 
skirts of la Fere. Further to the east the American Army had 
wiped out the St. Mihiel Salient and restored 150 square miles of 
French territory, held by the Boche since 1914. 

Farther afield, too, it appeared as if the various campaigns were 
approaching a climax. In Palestine General Allenby had captured 
Nazareth and driven forward to a great victory over the Turks, 
of whom 40,000 had been captured and many thousands killed or 
wounded. Later in the month Bulgaria was routed by an Allied 
Army, which included troops from Britain, France, Serbia, Italy 
and Greece, and was thus the first of the Central Powers to be 
"counted out." 

In his account of the position of affairs on the Western Front 
early in the month, Sir Douglas Haig states : 

"The details of the strategic plan were the subject of careful 
discussion between Marshal Foch and myself. Preparations were 
already far advanced for the successful attack by which the First 

[271] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

American Army, assisted by certain French Divisions, drove the 
enemy from the St. Mihiel Salient " 

"Ultimately it was decided that as soon as possible after this 
attack, four convergent and simultaneous offensives should be 
launched by the Allies as follows : 

"By the Americans west of Mezieres. 

"By the French west of Argonne, in close co-operation with the 
American attack and with the same general objectives. 

"By the British on the St. Quentin-Cambrai front in the general 
direction of Maubeuge. 

"By the Belgian and Allied forces in Flanders in the direction 
of Ghent. 

"The results to be obtained from these different attacks de 
pended in a peculiarly large degree upon the British attack in the 
centre. It was there that the enemy s defences were most highly 
organized. If these were broken, the threat directed at his vital 
systems of lateral communications would of necessity react upon 
his defences elsewhere." 

On September 15th Sir Arthur Currie received the details of 
the large operations by the Third and Fourth British Armies, in 
which the Canadian Corps was to co-operate by crossing the Canal 
du Nord and capturing Bourlon Wood and the high ground to the 
northeast of it, to protect the left flank of the attack. The llth 
British Division and the 7th Tank Battalion were to be attached 
to the Corps for the occasion. 

"This attack," says Sir Arthur, "was fraught with difficulties. 
On the Corps battle front of 6,400 yards the Canal du Nord was 
impassable on the northern 3,800 yards. The Corps had, there 
fore, to cross the Canal du Nord on a front of 2,600 yards and 
to expand fanwise to a front exceeding 15,000 yards. This in 
tricate manoeuvre called for most skilful leadership on the part 
of commanders, and the highest state of discipline on the part of 

the troops. 

"The assembly of the attacking troops in an extremely con 
gested area, known by the enemy to be the only one available, was 
very dangerous," but "careful arrangements were made by the 
counter battery staff officer to bring to bear a specially heavy 
neutralizing fire on hostile batteries at any moment during the 
crucial period of preparation. These arrangements were to be 

[272] 




Mile 



2 I 



ARRAS 




:ALE_ - MILE& 



15 Mil. 



> CAM BRA I 



THE CANAL DU NORD 

put into effect, in any case, at "zero" hour, to neutralize the hostile 
defensive barrage on the front of the attack. 

"With the exception of the 2nd Canadian Division, which 
would be in Corps Reserve at the time of attack, every resource 
of the Canadians was to be crowded in that narrow space." 

Sir Julian Byng, the former Corps Commander and at this time 
Commander of the Third British Army, is reported to have visited 
Corps Headquarters to discuss the attack on the Canal and to have 
stated, when informed of the plan, that it was feasible in his 
opinion, but was the most difficult manoeuvre attempted by any 
troops since the great offensive began. 

II 

On September 19th the companies of the 13th marched from 
Dainville to Tilloy. From this point Major Sinclair, accompanied 
by the Intelligence Officer, went forward on the 20th to reconnoitre 
the Buissy area and to select suitable assembly positions for the 
Canal du Nord attack. Further reconnaissances were made on 
the 21st and on this same date the strength of the Battalion was 
increased by the arrival of a draft of men, under the command of 
Lieuts. S. H. Browning, F. L. Hayden, E. Mather, L. E. Wells 
and R. A. C. Young. 

On the following day, Sunday, a drumhead Church Service 
was conducted by Major Graham for the main body of the Bat 
talion, the Roman Catholics parading separately, under the com 
mand of Lieut. Reaume. Reconnoitring parties went forward on 
Sunday afternoon and again on the following day, which was de 
voted by the main section of the unit to company training, bomb 
ing instruction and musketry practice. On this same date informa 
tion was received by wire that "His Majesty the King has awarded 
the Victoria Cross to Corp. H. J. Good and to the late Private 
J. B. Croak," these awards having been won in the Hangard Wood 
operation already described. The deep gratification of the Bat 
talion in this signal honour was marred only by regret that Private 
Croak had not lived to enjoy the reward so bravely earned. 

The morning of September 24th was spent by the Battalion 
in preparations for a move to the forward area. While these were 
in progress several enemy planes flew high over the district and 
dropped leaflets with propaganda for peace. A few of these were 
recovered by the Highlanders and created a deep impression, in- 

[273] 
18 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

asmuch as they convinced the men that Germany was weakening 
and that consequently their great sacrifices in the recent battles 
had not been made in vain. 

At 2.50 p.m. orders for the move to the forward area were 
issued. In accordance with these the Transport divided into two 
sections, the first marching almost at once with the men s packs, 
while the second section, including the cook kitchens, remained till 
the men had had their evening meal. 

The Battalion proper paraded at 6 p.m. and marched to Arras 
Station. Here a tiresome wait ensued, no pleasure being added 
to this by German aeroplanes which circled high over the town, 
dropping brilliant flares. These floated down most beautifully and 
were followed by heavy bombs whenever the enemy saw, or 
thought he saw, a suitable target. Several bombs burst in the 
neighbourhood of the station, but no direct hits were scored and, 
so far as the 13th was concerned, no damage done. At last a 
string of box cars appeared on the scene and Capt. Conroy, who 
was in charge of the entraining, soon had the men distributed. Box 
car traveling is never a luxurious business and this occasion pro 
vided no exception to the general rule. However, the move was 
made in safety and early on the morning of September 25th the 
men, supervised by Lieut. C. D. Craig, tumbled out of their 
cramped quarters and moved into dugouts and shelters in the Dro- 
court-Queant Line. Here the Battalion remained all day, moving 
forward in full battle order at 8.40 p.m. to relieve elements of the 
18th Canadian Battalion in the Buissy Switch Line. The rear 
details of the 13th were for this occasion placed under the com 
mand of Capt. R. E. Heaslip. 

Previous to the move into the jumping off line, Operation 
Order No. 203 had been issued, with details of the task the Bat 
talion was to perform. In outline this order stated that : 

(1) On a date and at a time to be notified later the 3rd Can 
adian Infantry Brigade will attack across the Canal du Nord, as 
part of an operation by the Canadian Corps. The Corps attack 
will be to form a defensive flank, facing northeast, to protect a 
major attack by the Third and Fourth Armies. The 3rd Brigade 
will attack on a one battalion (14th Royal Montreal Regiment) 
front. The 13th R.H.C. will in turn attack (north and east) 
through the 14th, and the 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders) and 
the 2nd Canadian Infantry Brigade will leap-frog the 13th Bat- 

[2741 



THE CANAL DU NORD 

talion, attacking north and northeast respectively. The 16th 
Battalion (Canadian Scottish) will be in Brigade Reserve. 

(2) Assembly: On zero-minus-one-night, the 13th Battalion 
will move up behind the 14th and assemble for the attack in posi 
tions to be prepared. "B" Coy. will lead and the others will fol 
low in order "C"-"D"-"A." 

(3) Move: At zero hour the 14th Battalion will attack across 
the Canal on a 500 yard front immediately south of Lock No. 3. 
As they advance the 13th Battalion will follow close behind on 
a one company front. Companies will be on a two platoon front, 
with sections of half platoons in file. 

(4) Leap-Frog: The 13th Battalion will take up the attack 
through the 14th Battalion on the Red Line. 

(5) Barrage: A barrage map will be issued separately, but 
the general idea is as follows : 

General rate of progress 5 minutes per hundred yards. Bar 
rage halts 45 minutes at Red Line and 30 minutes at Green Line. A 
standing barrage will be held on the eastern outskirts of Sains 
until the Red Line is captured. 

(6) "B" Coy., which will move quickly across the Canal, will 
then get into attack formation and follow close behind the 14th 
Battalion. On the 14th capturing the Red Line, "B" Coy. will 
prepare to pass through the Red Line, following behind the bar 
rage and attacking to the Green Line making good all ground 
between the right boundary and the light railway on the left. On 
this being done the O.C. Coy. will put up a signal of three white 
Very lights. The exact Green Line must be held by each company 
by a line of posts, though the main line of consolidation may be 
placed to the rear of this at the O.C. Coy s, discretion. "C" Coy., 
keeping in touch with "B" Coy., will pass through "B" Coy s, left 
flank and attack due north behind the barrage, establishing the 
Green Line on their right flank and front. On completion of the 
capture of its area, "C" Coy. will also put up a signal of three 
white Very lights. "D" Coy. (plus No. 1 Platoon of "A" Coy.), 
following close on "C" Coy s, left rear in order not to lose the 
barrage, will attack the town of Marquion from the southeast. 
They will attack through the town to the Green Line. No. 1 Pla 
toon will follow close in and will be responsible for mopping up 
all the town to the south of the Arras-Cambrai Road. On this 
being completed No. 1 Platoon will be withdrawn to its own Com- 

[275] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

pany area. Signal for "Operation complete" will again be three 
white Very lights. 

"A" Coy. : The remaining three platoons of the Coy. will fol 
low up "D" Coy. to the area just west of Chapel Corner, where 
two platoons and Company Headquarters will take cover from 
shell fire and act as Battalion Reserve. The third platoon will at 
once move eastward, through Keith Wood towards the Canal, deal 
ing with any possible trouble in that area, will sweep north to the 
Arras-Cambrai Road and will then rejoin its "Company. 

Many further details were dealt with in Operation Order No. 
203, but sufficient has been quoted to make clear the difficult nature 
of the task which the Royal Highlanders had before them. In 
effect their attack, from the moment they crossed the Canal behind 
the 14th Battalion, was to spread like a fan, a most complicated 
manoeuvre and one wherein certain of the troops found themselves 
attacking towards the Canal from what they had been wont to 
consider the German side. 

At 4 a.m. on September 27th the Battalion assembled for the 
attack in the meadows to the S.W. of Paviland Wood, without 
interference. 5.20 a.m. was "zero" and as this hour approached 
things became unusually still. Just to the rear of "C" Coy. was 
a battery of field guns, so close that every word of the commands 
that prepared the guns for action was clearly audible. Suddenly 
came the shrill blast of a whistle, followed by the sharp command, 
"Fire No. 1 Gun !" The Battle of the Canal du Nord had begun. 

Ill 

Immediately in front of the position from which the Royal 
Highlanders started their advance was a stream, some three to five 
feet deep and fifteen to twenty feet across. This was to have 
been bridged previous to the attack, but time had not permitted, 
so, with their kilts floating the men waded through, encouraged 
by a lively tune played by Piper G. B. Macpherson. Shell and 
machine gun fire was brisk at this point and several casualties 
occurred before the obstacle was negotiated. 

Little difficulty was encountered in crossing the Canal itself, 
which was quite dry, but once the far bank was reached machine 
gun fire became severe and reorganizations had to be hurriedly 
carried out in consequence. Even with the delay cut to a minimum, 

[276] 



THE CANAL DU NORD 

the Battalion suffered considerably during the halt, amongst the 
casualties being several tried and experienced N.C.O. s. 

Meanwhile, the 14th Battalion had pushed its attack forward 
and was at all points in possession of the Red Line. In moving 
up to take over the assault, the Highlanders encountered certain 
difficulties. Chief among these were broad belts of wire which at 
some points forced the men into narrow lanes, where progress was 
advisable only in single file and at the double. By adopting this 
method of advance casualties were kept down, though from the 
multitude of sparks caused by machine gun bullets striking the 
strands of wire it appeared as if heavy losses were a certainty. 
Once clear of the wire, little difficulty was encountered in advanc 
ing to the Red Line, though machine gun and shrapnel fire con 
tinued to be troublesome and caused several casualties, amongst 
these being Company Sergt. -Major Kelly, of "C" Coy., badly 
wounded. 

As was so often the case, the pause at the first objective re 
sulted in numerous casualties and gave the enemy an opportunity 
to reorganize. Opposition was consequently stiff when the time 
came for the 13th to resume the attack. As arranged in advance, 
"B" Coy., under Capt. H. A. Johnston, M.C., led the renewed assault, 
attacking due east and driving forward in the face of obstinate 
resistance. At one point Lieut. Reaume, who was accompanied 
at the moment by a party of only a half dozen men, encountered 
several large groups of the enemy, who, having fought well as 
long as it was a matter of machine guns, surrendered when the 
Canadians approached to close quarters. In all, the prisoners 
captured by this officer and his men totalled over 70. After an 
advance of a mile, the Company reached its objective in the Green 
Line and promptly consolidated. 

Attacking due north from "B" Coy s left flank, "C" Coy., under 
command of Capt. R. M. Hebden, encountered opposition almost 
from the beginning, shell fire from the direction of Bourlon Wood 
striking the Company in the flank and rear and machine gun fire 
from the direction of Marquion causing serious losses. Amongst 
the first to fall was Lieut. W. A. Ramsay, who was knocked un 
conscious by a 5.9 inch shell, which burst a few feet in advance 
of his platoon. Shortly after this Lieut. K. R. Townsend was hit 
in the arm by machine gun fire and simultaneously a number of 
N.C.O. s and men also fell. By this time the barrage had got 

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ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

ahead of the troops, who were having a very hard time, strug 
gling forward through a vast amount of uncut wire, while to add 
to the seriousness of the situation a masked battery of field guns 
was firing point blank from a spot some 250 yards forward on the 
right flank. 

Casualties continued, and the attacking strength of the Com 
pany was further reduced by the disorganization consequent on 
men getting separated from their platoons while making their way 
through the wire. Accordingly Capt. Hebden sent a runner to 
Battalion Headquarters stating that his advance was in danger 
of being brought to a standstill and asking for reinforcements. 
No reply to this message was received and Hebden realized that 
the runner had not got through, or that no reinforcements were 
available. Accordingly he prepared to carry out the operation 
as originally planned. In this attempt, which involved an advance 
across open ground towards Marquion, Lieut. G. H. Hamilton was 
fatally wounded and Sergt. Hannaford also became a casualty. 
This left the Company without any of its platoon commanders, and 
apparently a lance-corporal was the senior N.C.O. unwounded. 
With this depleted force progress to the final objective became 
impossible and the advance was accordingly halted. 

Meanwhile, "D" Coy., which had followed close to "C" Coy s, 
left rear, was driving its assault in a northerly direction against 
the village of Marquion. As in the case of "C" Coy., great belts 
of barbed wire presented almost insuperable difficulties, and the 
Highlanders looked back in despair for the four tanks which were 
supposed to assist at this stage of the operation. At last these 
monsters arrived on the scene and the Highlanders, breathing a 
sigh of relief, prepared to advance behind them. The explanation 
of what happened next is not clear. Some say that the tanks 
found themselves running out of gasoline, others that they re 
ceived orders to report for even more urgent service elsewhere. 
Be that as it may, the tanks approached the wire, then, despite 
"Come to our help" signals and personal appeals from Lieuts. 
R. A. C. Young and J. E. Christie, they turned and moved off in 
the direction of Sains. 

With the departure of the tanks the men of "D" Coy. turned 
doggedly towards their objective and began the heart-breaking 
task of cutting through the wire by hand. As had happened to 
"C" Coy., the delay caused by the wire had allowed the barrage 

[278] 



THE CANAL DU NORD 

to get far ahead, a fact which permitted the enemy machine gun 
ners to come up from their cellars and dugouts and offer the 
stoutest opposition. In the face of this the Company made slow 
and painful, though determined, progress. Lieut. G. W. Megan, 
who had acted splendidly throughout, was killed and Lieuts. J. 
Young and J. E. Christie, M.C., wounded, but Lieut. E. Appleby, 
who was himself suffering from minor wounds, continued to lead 
the Company forward. Foot by foot ground was gained, but at 
last, on reaching a great belt of wire which ran west from Chapel 
Corner and along the south of the village of Marquion, the advance 
was definitely checked. 

"A" Coy. considerably weakened by casualties, came forward 
at this juncture, and, together with the right company of the 15th 
Battalion, prepared to continue the assault. Just as this movement 
was getting under way, up came a battalion of the Manchester 
Regiment, llth British Division. With the arrival of these splen 
did troops the fate of the action in this vicinity, which had been 
trembling in the balance, was definitely settled and the whole line 
swept irresistibly forward. Almost at once the back bone of the 
German defence was broken and the village itself, together with 
the territory beyond up to the Green Line, was captured and con 
solidated. In reporting on the capture of the village, Major Sin 
clair of the 13th wrote as follows : "The Commanding Officer 
wishes to express the admiration of all ranks of this Battalion at 
the magnificent way in which the Manchesters attack went for 
ward. In spite of very heavy fire, the whole battalion behaved as 
if carrying out a field day practice." 

This brought to a conclusion that phase of the battle in which 
the Royal Highlanders were directly interested, as other troops 
took up the burden and carried the line forward. In so far as the 
13th was concerned, Major Sinclair had every reason to be proud 
of the way the men had behaved when fighting for the first time 
under his command. In the face of serious obstacles, they had 
carried out the difficult fan attack called for ; had met and defeated 
three German Battalions, of the 62nd and 189th Regiments ; had 
captured three 77 mm. field guns, one anti-tank gun, two trench 
mortars and nineteen machine guns ; and had advanced over a mile 
on a front of two miles. Then, when the force of their attack had 
spent itself, they had maintained every inch of the captured ground 

[279] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

and had charged forward with the reinforcements to the capture 
of the final objective. 

All this had not been accomplished without paying a price. 
In addition to the officer casualties already mentioned, Capt. H. A. 
Johnston, M.C., had been wounded, as had Lieuts. D. C. Mc- 
Eachran, C. L. Cantley, K. G. Blackader, M.C. and L. C. Drum- 
mond, M.C., while Capt. A. G. C. Macdermot and Lieut. R. A. C. 
Young had been wounded, but were able to remain at duty. 
Amongst the other ranks 33 had been killed, 8 were missing, and 
169 had been wounded. Together with the losses in the Arras 
battle, this brought the Battalion s casualty list for the month 
of September up to a total of 24 officers and 432 other ranks. 

For two days after the conclusion of the attack on September 
27th the 13th Battalion remained in Divisional Reserve. Fierce 
fighting, meanwhile, was carried out by other units of the Corps, 
which, in the face of strong counter-attacks, was exploiting to the 
utmost the success of the daring "fan" assault already described. 
Realizing that they would soon become involved if the fighting 
continued, as seemed likely, the 13th hastened to re-organize and 
prepare for further action, no easy task with so many experienced 
officers gone and with staggering losses amongst the trained and 
trusted N.C.O. s. 



[2807 



CHAPTER XXII 

The Beginning of the End 

Stand fast and forget not the sign that is given, 
Of the years and the wars that are done, 
The token that all who are born of the blood 
Should in heart and in blood be one, 

SWINBURNE. 



THE last days of September, 1918, found the Canadian Corps, 
bloody and not a little weary, still driving with all its force 
against the Hun. Already the attack across the Canal du 
Nord and the capture of Bourlon Wood had resulted in a direct 
threat to Cambrai, and, as possession of that city was vital to 
him, the enemy was defending it with the courage born of despair. 
Almost recklessly he withdrew troops from other parts of his line 
and threw them into the Cambrai battle in an effort to stop that 
appalling advance, which, together with Allied advances at other 
crucial points, seemed like the fateful writing on the wall. If 
only the hand that wrote could be stayed, even momentarily, some 
how, anyhow, he would hold out till the winter and then negotiate 
a peace on the basis of a draw. And so he fought with all the 
strength he could muster and all the cunning he could command, 
giving ground easily where the loss was of no vital impo?tance, 
holding it with dogged courage if to yield were a matter of real 
concern. 

"On September 29th," says Sir Arthur Currie, "the 3rd Can 
adian Division, the 4th Canadian Division and the 1st Canadian 
Division all made progress in the face of severe opposition." On 
the 30th further advances were made, but, as the result of savage 
counter attacks and a destructive enfilade fire, some of the cap 
tured territory had to be yielded again. "The net gains for the 
day," to quote Sir Arthur, "were the capture of Tilloy and some 

[281] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

progress on the right of the 3rd Canadian Division from Neuville 
St. Remy south." 

At 6 p.m. on September 30th the 13th Battalion moved for 
ward from Divisional Reserve into Divisional Support. At 7 p.m. 
Major I. M. R. Sinclair, M.C., the Commanding Officer, was sum 
moned to a conference at Brigade Headquarters and informed that 
the Battalion would attack before daylight on the following morn 
ing. Returning to Battalion Headquarters with all possible speed, 
Major Sinclair called his company commanders together and told 
them of the forthcoming operation, instructing them to inform 
their officers of the details and to see that these in turn passed 
as much information as possible to the N.C.O. s. Owing to the 
exceedingly short time before zero, there was no way of letting 
the men know what was expected. For them it was a case of 
obeying orders and doing the best they could. 

At 12.30 a.m. in pouring rain the Battalion moved forward to 
its jumping off position. Nine guides were picked up at an ap 
pointed spot on the Arras-Cambrai Road, but as only one of these 
really knew where he was going, the whole Battalion was forced 
to advance in single file, a tedious business which resulted in the 
unit s arriving in position, immediately behind the 85th Canadian 
Battalion s outpost line, with little time to spare before zero. Bat 
talion Headquarters was established in a dugout in the centre of 
Sancourt, and almost immediately the "show" began. 

The barrage, as was only to be expected considering the hasty 
arrangements, had at least one battery firing short, and the High 
landers suffered a few casualties from this cause at the very be 
ginning. In spite of these, "B" Coy. on the left and "D" Coy. on 
the right, each on a front of 500 yards, advanced steadily into the 
darkness, dealing with such Hun posts as they encountered and 
capturing a number of prisoners. "A" Coy. advanced behind the 
attack as support, "C" Coy. being held in Battalion Reserve. Dur 
ing this fighting in the dark it was inevitable that a good deal of 
confusion should take place, but much to the credit of the troops 
concerned, the attack through the pitchy blackness of the night 
was driven forward most courageously. "B" Coy., however, did 
not quite achieve its purpose and suffered serious losses. Lieut. 
A. P. Nason was killed in effecting the capture of a machine gun 
nest, which was defending the railway embankment northwest of 
Blecourt, and, as all the company officers became casualties, Regi- 

[282] 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 

mental Sergt.-Major F. Butler took command. The Company then 
consolidated the embankment and prepared it for defence against 
counter attack. 

Meanwhile, "D" Coy. on the right had had less trouble. Enemy 
posts were encountered frequently, but these were quickly dealt 
with and did not serve to check the advance, which reached its 
objective, the Blue Line, without much loss. 

Advancing behind "D" Coy. as support until the diagonal rail 
way was reached, "A" Coy. swung half left, taking over "B" Coy s 
area and carrying the assault on that front the remaining distance 
through Blecourt to its final objective. "A" Coy., however, did 
not accomplish this task without paying a price. During the ad 
vance it lost all its officers, with the exception of Capt. A. G. C. 
Macdermot, and a considerable proportion of the reduced strength 
with which it had entered the engagement. Then, just as it was 
driving forward to the Blue Line, a Hun, who came forward 
apparently to surrender, shot Macdermot dead. This individual 
was, of course, immediately disposed of, but the damage had been 
done and the Royal Highlanders had lost a brave and capable 
officer who had twice previously been wounded and whose presence 
could ill be spared. Following the death of Capt. Macdermot, "A" 
Coy. dug in on the Blue Line, command being taken over by Capt. 
E. Appleby, of "D" Coy., who also retained command of his own 
men. This completed the operation as far as the 13th was con 
cerned, the 14th and 16th Battalions leapfrogging and carrying the 
assault forward. 

Shortly after day had broken and just when it appeared that 
the attack of the 3rd Brigade had been an entire success, Major 
Sinclair received a report from Capt. Appleby, O.C. the 13th front 
line, that the enemy had appeared in large numbers on his left 
flank and were firing heavily with rifles and machine guns ; also 
that a field battery had come into action against him and was firing 
at close range from the direction of Abancourt. To this Capt. 
Appleby added that he had been unable to get in touch with the 
1st Canadian Brigade, which he had expected to find on his left 
flank, and asked if this Brigade had as yet come forward. As it 
was vital to protect the flank and rear of the 14th and 16th Bat 
talions, which had gone forward, Major Sinclair ordered Appleby 
to withdraw from the exposed hillside where he found himself to 
a sunken road which provided good shelter and was well situated 

[283] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

to protect the flank and rear of the forward battalions. "C" Coy. 
was sent forward at this juncture to reinforce Appleby s weakened 
line. 

During the next hour the Stokes guns attached to the 13th 
did excellent work in holding back the enemy infantry, but their 
range was insufficient to reach the German field guns, which were 
harassing the 14th and 16th, as well as the 13th, from the direction 
of Abancourt. 

By 9 a.m. the situation had become serious, and Major Sinclair 
reported by pigeon that the ground on the left must be attacked 
by reinforcements, or the 3rd Brigade was in danger of being badly 
cut up. By this time the 13th had all been faced to the left flank to 
meet the threatened danger. The 14th and 16th, meanwhile, had 
occupied the sunken road along the east side of Blecourt and were 
suffering severely from the enfilade. Realizing that a partial vic 
tory was infinitely better than a possible stinging defeat, Lieut. - 
Col. Peck, D.S.O., the veteran and experienced commander of the 
16th, who had come up and appreciated the situation, ordered the 
14th and 16th to withdraw to a line behind Blecourt and some 
600 yards in advance of the jumping off position. Simultaneously, 
or nearly so, the two front companies of the 13th were withdrawn 
into the sunken road to escape the enfilade fire. There they re 
mained until the Battalion was relieved on the following morning. 

Altogether it was a somewhat unsatisfactory finish to an attack, 
which, starting under serious disadvantages, had progressed for 
a while amazingly well. Defeat had been avoided, but victory had 
escaped the Canadians grasp, though, in compensation for losses 
suffered, the 3rd Brigade had maintained a considerable portion 
of the ground captured, had taken many prisoners and had killed 
or wounded an even larger number of the enemy. 

In the 13th Battalion casualties had been particularly severe 
amongst the officers and N.C.O. s. In addition to Capt. Macder- 
mot and Lieut. Nason, killed, Capt. C. D. Llwyd, M.C. and Lieut. 
J. S. Reaume were wounded and missing, while Lieuts. R. A. C. 
Young, L. E. Wells and H. H. Hobbs had been wounded, as had 
the Battalion Chaplain, Major E. E. Graham, M.C., an officer who, 
from the time he joined the Highlanders just before the Battle of 
Vimy Ridge, had played a courageous part in every engagement 
where the unit had seen fighting. Lieut. L. Armstrong had also 
been wounded, but was able to remain on duty. Amongst the other 

[284] 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 

ranks 14 had been killed, 61 were wounded and 7 missing. For 
some time hope was entertained that Capt. Llwyd and Lieut. 
Reaume had survived. Both had served the Battalion faithfully 
and well, and it was with great reluctance that the Highlanders 
considered the possibility that they had been killed. Eventually, 
however, Lieut. Reaume s body was found and given burial. Capt. 
Llwyd s body was not found, and his name was added to the roll 
of that gallant company who are listed simply as "missing." 

n 

Following the relief on the morning of October 2nd, the 13th 
Battalion moved back to familiar territory near Keith Wood. Here 
the rear details rejoined and reinforcements were received to fill 
the depleted ranks. In common with all units of the Canadian 
Corps, the Royal Highlanders were feeling keenly at this time 
the loss of experienced officers and N.C.O. s. Accordingly the 
call was sent forth and many whose wounds and other services 
entitled them to occupy less strenuous posts hastened to forego 
the privileges so dearly won and report back for Regimental duty. 

On October 3rd, Sir Arthur Currie issued a Special Order to 
the Corps with reference to the engagements in which the troops 
had just taken part : 

"I wish to express to all troops now fighting in the Canadian 
Corps my high appreciation of the splendid fighting qualities dis 
played by them in the successful battle of the last five days. The 
mission assigned to the Corps was the protection of the flank of 
the Third and Fourth Armies in their advance, and that mission 
has been carried out to the complete satisfaction of the Commander- 
in-Chief. As you formed the flank, you suffered enfilade and 
frontal artillery fire all the way, and the hundreds of machine 
guns captured testify to the violence of the opposition from that 
source. 

"Every evidence confirms the fact that the enemy suffered 
enormous casualties. He fought stubbornly and well and for that 
reason your victory is more creditable. You have taken in this 
battle over 7,000 prisoners and 200 field and heavy guns, thus 
bringing the total captures of the Canadian Corps since August 
8th of this year to 28,000 prisoners, 500 guns, over 3,000 machine 
guns and a large amount of stores of all kinds. 

"In the short period of two months the Canadian Corps to 

[285] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

which were attached the 32nd (British) Division for the Battle 
of Amiens, the 4th and 51st (British) Divisions for the Battle of 
Arras, and the llth (British) Division for this Battle of Cambrai 
has encountered and defeated decisively 47 German divisions ; 
that is nearly a quarter of the total German forces on the Western 
Front. I am proud of your deeds and I want to record here my 
heartfelt thanks for your generous efforts, and my unbounded con 
fidence in your ability to fight victoriously and crush the enemy 
wherever and whenever you meet him." 

Shortly after the promulgation of this message, the 13th Bat 
talion was gratified by the publication of a list of honours and 
awards in which officers and men of the unit figured conspicuously. 
For his courage and valuable services during the la Chavatte oper 
ations in August, Lieut. O. B. Krenchel, who previously had won 
the D.C.M. while serving in the ranks, was awarded the Military 
Cross. Very unfortunately, this brave officer did not live to re 
ceive his decoration, he having been killed during the operations 
on September 2nd. Lieut. W. T. Hornby, who had won the Mili 
tary Medal previous to his gaining commissioned rank, was also 
awarded the Military Cross for his work at la Chavatte. For con 
spicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the Cagnicotirt 
operations on September 2nd, a Bar to the Distinguished Conduct 
Medal was awarded to Sergt. F. A. D. Sorby, of "D" Coy., while 
for similar reasons a Bar to the Military Medal was awarded to 
Lance-Corp. C. C. Smith, of Headquarters Company, to Sergt. 
M. H. Mills, of "A" Coy. and to Sergt. W. P. C. Kelly, of "C 
Coy. In the same list Private S. Edwards, of "D" Coy., received 
the D.C.M., while the M.M. was granted to 29 other ranks. 

After several days spent in reorganization and training, the 
Battalion paraded on the morning of October 5th and marched 
to the Vis-en-Artois area, where dugouts, bivouacs and other 
shelters were occupied. Here the 13th remained for a little over 
twenty-four hours, passing a quiet Sunday morning and afternoon, 
but missing the presence of the Battalion Chaplain, who had been 
wont to honour the Sabbath with Divine Service whenever con 
ditions permitted. At 6 o clock on Sunday evening the companies 
of the 13th paraded in battle order and moved off to relieve the 
2nd Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers in the front line. Guides 
were met in Boiry Notre-Dame at 7 p.m. and the relief was com 
pleted without incident three hours later. 

[286] 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 

The position in which the Battalion now found itself was pecu 
liar. Its right and left flanks rested on land which had been in 
undated, while its front conformed roughly to the windings of 
the Trinquis River, beyond which was the village of Sailly-en- 
Ostrevent, heavily wired and acting as an outpost to a northern 
extension of the strong Drocourt-Queant Line. On moving into 
this area, 13th Battalion Headquarters was located in a central 
position to the south of Boiry Notre-Dame, "C" Coy., under 
Lieut. E. Mather, was distributed on the left, "D" Coy., under 
Capt. R. E. Heaslip, in the centre, "A" Coy., under Capt. E. Apple- 
by, on the right and "B" Coy., under Capt. J. L. Atkinson, in Bat 
talion Support. The actual front was held for the most part by 
a series of day and night posts at strategic locations, one or two 
of which the Lanes, had established in the far bank of the stream. 

After a quiet night in this position, some excitement was 
caused at about 8 a.m. when a low flying German plane attempted 
to "shoot up" "D" Coy s, outposts. No particular damage was 
caused on this occasion, nor did the Battalion suffer much as the 
result of enemy shelling, which was intermittent throughout the 
day, and included a proportion of gas shells. 

During the morning Major Sinclair attended a meeting of bat 
talion commanders at Brigade Headquarters, near Monchy-le- 
Preux, where details of a minor operation to be undertaken on the 
8th were discussed and settled. This little operation, which was to 
be carried out by "D" Coy., involved crossing the Trinquis River 
and establishing a new line on the left front some distance beyond. 
As "D" Coy s, total strength at this time was down to 124 all 
ranks, a platoon of "C" Coy. was attached to act as support. The 
intention of the attack was to occupy the new line as described, 
but also to divert the attention of the Hun from other sections of 
the front, where larger operations were planned. 

At 5 o clock on the morning of the 8th the Highlanders beat 
off a German patrol which came nosing forward, but which, for 
tunately, did not see any of the preparations for the attack, these 
having been carried out while darkness was still complete. Half 
an hour later the barrage, a rather feeble affair, opened up and 
the attack got under way. The first difficulty was the crossing 
of the Trinquis River, which on this front varied from 20 to 50 
yards in width and which was spanned by a rickety little one-man 
bridge. Another bridge was to have been provided previous to the 

[287] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

attack, but this had not been done, so the one span remained the 
sole means of communication between the two banks. To protect 
the advancing troops against the danger of a shell burst cutting 
the bridge and leaving them stranded, adequate supplies of am 
munition and entrenching tools of all kinds had been moved across 
previous to zero. 

Having crossed the bridge in safety, Capt. Heaslip and Lieuts. 
Ferguson, Dunning and Hayden led the attack forward. On the 
right little opposition was encountered and objectives were reached 
without much difficulty. On the left resistance was firmer, and 
the men on this flank captured three enemy machine guns and some 
25 prisoners, including one officer, all members of the 363rd Ger 
man Regiment, 214th Division. 

The German barrage on the occasion of this attack did not fall 
until twenty minutes after the operation began, consequently casu 
alties in the 13th were held to a minimum and totalled only four, 
Lieut. S. H. Browning and 3 other ranks being wounded. When 
the Germans did lay down their barrage, it fell with considerable 
weight on the line of the River and the meadows beyond, but the 
only casualties it caused were amongst prisoners who were being 
conducted to the rear. By 7 o clock the artillery on both sides had 
quieted down, and Capt. Heaslip reported that he was at all points 
holding his objectives and that the situation was quite satisfactory. 

Throughout the day German trench mortars were active against 
the new line that "D" Coy. had established, and at 8 o clock in the 
evening a strong enemy party raided one of the posts and was 
expelled only after sharp hand to hand fighting. Two men of "D" 
Coy. were killed in this encounter and six wounded, while the 
raiders also suffered losses and left one wounded corporal in the 
Highlanders hands. This individual was found to be a member 
of the 50th German Infantry Regiment. 

On the morning of October 9th the enemy shelled the 13th out 
post lines with 5.9 s and 4.1 s, and treated the neighbourhood of 
Battalion Headquarters to a sprinkling of gas shells, which caused 
considerable inconvenience. Gas shelling on the outpost lines a 
little later in the day caused a good deal of suffering. Four men 
in one of "D" Coy s, posts were caught in a concentration of what 
appeared to be Blue Cross (Diphenylchlorarsine) gas and were 
in a deplorable condition when darkness made it safe for them 
to attempt to retire. Runners from Battalion H.Q. found these 

[2881 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 

/our groping their way back, almost blind and suffering in a man 
ner that was pitiable. 

In the evening orders were received from Brigade instructing 
the 13th to push out battle patrols at 2 a.m. on the 10th instant, 
to try to capture Sailly-en-Ostrevent and enter the Drocourt- 
Queant Line. This movement was to be carried out in co-operation 
with the 15th Canadian Battalion on the left and the 2nd Canadian 
Infantry Brigade on the right. Major Sinclair s operation order 
gave details of the attack to those concerned and may be sum 
marized as follows : 

"It is intended that the 13th Battalion will move forward on 
the morning of October 10th to follow up a suspected retirement 
of the enemy. The Battalion will advance on a one company front, 
"A" Coy. will be the leading company, followed by "C", "B", "D" 
in that order. "A" Coy. will send forward one platoon around the 
south of Sailly-en-Ostrevent and one around the north. The third 
platoon will act as support and will move to the north of the vil 
lage. The attitude to be adopted by the patrols will be : 

(a) If opposition is slight drive in and overcome it. 

(&) If the enemy is still holding the position in force our 
patrols will stand fast, report back and await orders to withdraw. 
It is not intended to attack heavily if the enemy has not retreated. 

The leading platoon of "A" Coy. will advance from our line 
at 2 a.m. 

"C" Coy. will "stand to" ready to move from 2 a.m. onwards. 
They will only move on the command of Battalion Headquarters. 
In case an advance is not found feasible, all units will be ordered to 
withdraw and will then move back to their positions as at present." 

Promptly at 2 a.m. Capt. Appleby, O.C. "A" Coy., sent his 
patrols forward, each with scouts in advance. Lieut. E. B. Q. 
Buchanan s platoon proceeded up the light railway to the south of 
Sailly-en-Ostrevent, while Lieut. Armstrong led his men around 
the enemy wire to the north. Lieut. Dunning followed in support, 
with the additional duty of mopping up Sailly-en-Ostrevent. At 
3.25 a.m. it was reported that the mopping up platoon had entered 
the village. Sounds of bombing and machine gun fire were then 
heard, but fifteen minutes later "A" Coy. reported that Lieut. Dun- 
ning s platoon had been unable to force its way through. 

Meanwhile, the platoons on the right and left had pushed for 
ward without much difficulty and had entered the Drocourt-Queant 

[289] 
19 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Line. Each patrol, on attaining its objective, at once endeavoured 
to establish communication with the troops whom it expected 
to find on its flanks. In neither case, however, were these efforts 
successful, the 15th Battalion on the one flank and the 2nd Brigade 
on the other, having encountered opposition which prevented their 
making the junction. 

Seeing that all had gone well with his own flanks and that 
Sailly-en-Ostrevent could probably be reduced without a great 
deal of difficulty, Major Sinclair ordered "C" Coy., under Lieut. 
Mather, to move forward. With the assistance of a platoon from 
this Company the village was quickly captured, together with some 
30 prisoners, Shortly after this all the forward platoons reported 
themselves O.K. 

Daylight was now approaching and Major Sinclair, in con 
sequence, had to decide whether to hold the position gained or 
to withdraw his troops to the original line. He consulted with 
Major A. D. Wilson, D.S.O., Brigade Major of the 3rd Brigade, 
and, as the battalions on both flanks had been held up, it was de 
cided to withdraw. Accordingly, the "recall" signal was sent up 
by Capt. Appleby and repeated by Battalion Headquarters. 

Shortly after this Lieuts. P. O. Ferguson and E. B. Q. 
Buchanan, the officers of the right patrol, reported back. They 
had encountered little resistance, but had killed one German, whose 
shoulder strap bore the number of the 363rd German Regiment. 

Some three quarters of an hour later Lieut. L. Armstrong re 
ported that a part of "C" Coy., approximately 50 strong, was in 
the Drocourt-Queant Line and could hold it, provided adequate 
reinforcements were sent up. This party was under the command 
of Lieuts. E. Mather, I. A. Ross and J. H. Molson. "B" Coy. was 
ordered forward on receipt of this information and had started 
with one platoon when Lieut. Mather arrived at Battalion Head 
quarters with news of a strong enemy counter attack, heavy casu 
alties and a considerable number of his men taken prisoner. This 
distressing news changed the situation instantly. Accordingly, 
"B" Coy s, orders to advance were cancelled and the original 
jumping off line was immediately manned. 

The explanation of the misfortune that had befallen the party 
of "C" Coy. lay in the simple fact that no one had seen the three 
white Very lights signalling the recall. Failing to see these, the 
party held its ground, according to orders, until day had broken. 

[290] 



THE BEGINNING OF THE END 

Somewhat later Lieut. Mather, feeling strongly that all was not 
well, decided to return to Battalion Headquarters for orders. 
After his departure, Lieut. Molson stood his ground until it be 
came obvious that he was in immediate danger of being surrounded. 
He then started to retreat along the German line, evacuating his 
wounded with him and leaving a guard at each communication 
trench to protect the main body against an attack from the rear. 
Soon, however, it became apparent that the end was not far off. 
Large bodies of the enemy manoeuvred to cut his retreat, which 
was hampered by the necessity of carrying the wounded. Lieut. 
Ross rendered valuable assistance throughout the operation, but 
there was really nothing that could be done. Molson himself was 
wounded over the eye, but carried on with his efforts to get his 
men out of their danger. At last ammunition gave out and this 
party, 2 officers and 30 men, thereupon surrendered. The deter 
mined stand of Lieuts. Molson and Ross and their men was of great 
assistance to such of the wounded as were able to care for them 
selves. An odd dozen of these escaped the Germans and, by many 
and devious routes, reached their own lines in safety during the 
day, or after dark that same night. 

As a result of the operation the Royal Highlanders had 
definitely established the fact that the Drocourt-Queant Line was 
held, at least at some points, in strength. Two officers, two 
N.C.O. s and 45 other ranks of the enemy had been captured and 
a considerable number killed or wounded. To offset these gains 
the 13th had suffered a total of 145 casualties, many of these from 
gas. Four officers, Capt. R. E. Heaslip, Lieut. T. B. D. Tudball, 
Lieut. F. Hayden and Lieut. W. E. Dunning suffered from this 
cause, as did some 79 other ranks. Eight other ranks were killed, 
five fatally wounded, ten less seriously wounded and forty-three, 
including those known to be prisoners, were listed as missing. 

In this operation, as in previous engagements, the men showed 
no little courage, but at the same time it was obvious that only the 
stern necessity which existed could justify the policy of filling 
up the depleted ranks of a battalion with untrained, or partially 
trained, men and sending them into action under officers and 
N.C.O. s. who were themselves in some instances lacking, not in 
courage and resourcefulness, but in the finer degree of leadership 
which can be gained only by long experience. In the circum 
stances that existed there was no help for this condition. Every 

[291] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

r- 

battalion in the Canadian Corps was similarly handicapped, and 
such senior officers as remained were alternately filled with admira 
tion for the way in which the new men went at their work and 
depressed by the loss of the tried and experienced veterans whose 
shoes it was so difficult to fill. 



[292] 



CHAPTER XXIII 

The Last of the Fighting 

Till having backward rolled the lawless tide 
Of trusted treason, tyranny and pride, 
Her flag hath brought, inflexible as fate, 
Charter of freedom to a fettered state. 

AUSTIN. 



WHILE the 13th Battalion was engaged in the series of 
operations described in the previous chapter, events had 
taken place on the Corps front that were of the utmost 
importance. Chief among these was the capture of the city of 
Cambrai. In his report dealing with the operations which brought 
this prize to Canadian arms, Sir Arthur Currie writes as follows : 
"The period from October 3 to 8 passed without any material 
changes on the Corps front. Many patrol encounters took place, 
in which some prisoners were captured and our artillery and 
machine guns kept the enemy under continual harassing fire day 
and night. Plans for further operations having been formulated 
to take place on the Third Army front, the Canadian Corps was 
ordered on October 5 to co-operate by forcing the crossing of the 
Canal de 1 Escaut north of Cambrai. The Third Army had been 
successful in crossing the Canal de 1 Escaut, south of Cambrai, 
between Crevecoeur-sur-1 Escaut and Proville. The operation now 
contemplated had for object the capture of Cambrai by envelop 
ment. This was to be carried out in two phases. In the first phase 
the XVII Corps was to capture Awoignt by attacking from the 
south ; the Canadian Corps was to co-operate by an artillery demon 
stration. In the second phase the Canadian Corps was to cross the 
Canal de 1 Escaut and, advancing rapidly, capture Escadoeuvres, 
joining hands with the XVII Corps northeast of Cambrai. At 
4.30 a.m. October 8, the Third Army attacked and at the same 
hour an artillery demonstration was carried out on the Canadian 
Corps front. The XVII Corps on the right did not reach Awoignt, 
but in the evening they were ordered to continue their advance 

[293] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

on the morning of October 9 to capture this town; concurrently 
with this advance the Canadian Corps was to secure the crossings 
of the Canal de 1 Escaut. In spite of the darkness of a rainy 
night the assembly was completed and the attack was launched 
successfully at 1.30 a.m. October 9. Rapid progress was made, 
and at 2.25 a.m. the 2nd Canadian Division had captured Ramillies 
and established posts on the Canal there, and patrols were push 
ing out to the northeast. By 3.35 a.m. our Infantry were well 
established on the eastern side of the Canal. The 3rd Canadian 
Division had cleared the railway, and their patrols were pushing 
into Cambrai, while the Engineers were commencing work on the 
bridges. By 8 a.m. the 2nd Canadian Division had captured 
Escadoeuvres and had established a line to the north and east. 
Detachments of the 3rd Canadian Division had by this time com 
pletely cleared Cambrai of the enemy. An air reconnaissance at 
dawn indicated that the enemy had withdrawn from the area be 
tween the Canal de 1 Escaut and Canal de la Sensee, and that all 
bridges over the latter had been destroyed. Brutinel s Brigade, 
passing through the Infantry of the 2nd Canadian Division, seized 
the high ground at Croix St. Hubert and pushed cavalry patrols 
into Thun Leveque. The 2nd Canadian Division, east of the 
Canal, progressed towards the north and occupied Thun Leveque. 
Thun-St. Martin, Blecourt, Cuvillers and Bantigny, and the llth 
Division occupied Abancourt and reached the outskirts of Paillen- 
court. The 3rd Canadian Division was moved on the following 
day to bivouacs in the Inchy-Queant area to rest and refit after 
twelve days of battle. The attack was continued at 6 a.m. October 
10, by the 2nd Canadian and llth (British) Divisions, and good 
progress was made. At 9 a.m., October 11, the Canadian Corps 
resumed the attack, with the 49th Division on the right and the 
2nd Canadian Division on the left. After fierce fighting, however, 
our attack made good progress, the 49th Division gaining the 
high ground east of Iwuy and the 2nd Canadian Division captur 
ing Iwuy and the high ground to the north. Meanwhile, on Octo 
ber 7-8, the 1st Canadian Division had relieved the 4th (British) 
Division, (XXII Corps), on the frontage between Palluel and the 
Scarpe River, and passed under the command of the G.O.C., XXII 
Corps. At 5 p.m. October 11, I handed over command of the 
Corps front (less the llth Divisional section) to the G.O.C., XXII 
Corps, and the 2nd Canadian and the 49th and 51st Divisions 

[294] 



THE LAST OF THE FIGHTING 

were transferred to the XXII Corps. At the same hour I assumed 
command of the former XXII Corps front and the 56th and the 
1st Canadian Divisions were transferred in the line to the Canadian 
Corps. During the night of October 11-12 the 2nd Canadian Divi 
sion was relieved in the line east of the Iwuy-Denain railway by 
the 51st (Highland) Division, and on completion of the relief I 
assumed command of the remainder of the 2nd Canadian Divisional 
front, extending from the Iwuy-Denain railway (exclusive) to the 
Canal de 1 Escaut. The Battle of Arras-Cambrai, so fruitful in 
results, was now closed. Since August 26 the Canadian Corps had 
advanced twenty-three miles, fighting for every foot of ground 
and overcoming the most bitter resistance. 

In that period the Canadian Corps engaged and defeated de 
cisively 31 German Divisions, reinforced by numerous Marksmen 
Machine Gun Companies. These Divisions were met in strongly 
fortified positions and under conditions most favourable to the 
defence. 

In this battle 18,585 prisoners were captured by us, together 
with 371 guns, 1,923 machine guns and many trench mortars. Over 
116 square miles of French soil, containing 54 towns and villages, 
and including the city of Cambrai, were liberated. The severity 
of the fighting and the heroism of our troops may be gathered 
from the casualties suffered between August 22 and October 11, 
and which are as follows : 

Officers Other Ranks 

Killed 296 4,071 

Wounded 1,230 23,279 

Missing 18 1,912 



Totals 1,544 29,262 

II 

Following the operation at Sailly-en-Ostrevent on October 10th, 
the 13th Battalion held the line for the remainder of the day, 
expecting an enemy counter-attack, or at least prepared to meet 
a counter-attack if one should develop. The Hun, however, made 
no move against the Highlanders front, being pleased enough, 
apparently, to have retained his position in the northern extension 
of the Drocourt-Queant Line. 

[2951 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

Late at night the 13th was relieved by the 16th and moved 
back to old trenches near Monchy-le-Preux. Here the men rested 
during the morning that followed, but at 4.10 p.m. "B" and "C" 
Companies were ordered forward to the position they had vacated 
the night before. On further orders being received the remainder 
of the Battalion also moved forward, arriving in the old position 
at 7 p.m. The 16th Battalion, meanwhile, had advanced their line 
almost to Noyelle-sous-Bellonne. 

At 2.15 a.m. on October 12th a message was received from 
Brigade, which stated that the 15th and 16th Battalions were to 
attack at 6 a.m. and that the 13th Battalion would advance in close 
support. As there was no time in which to prepare written orders, 
Major Sinclair gave his company commanders, Capt. Appleby, 
Capt. Atkinson, Major J. D. Macpherson and Lieut. Stowell, verbal 
orders over the telephone, Assembly positions were in the Dro- 
court-Queant Line and on reaching these each company commander 
was given a map marked with the boundaries and dispositions to 
be followed. 

At 6 a.m. the 15th and the 16th Battalions started forward and 
the 13th followed according to instructions. No opposition was 
encountered by the forward battalions for some time, but at last 
the Canal de la Sensee, in front of Ferin, was reached and here 
the retreating Hun had evidently decided to make a stand. While 
the 15th and 16th Battalions tested out the Hun line, the com 
panies of the 13th dug in as support. During the afternoon the 
4th Canadian Battalion took over the support position and the 
Royal Highlanders moved back to an area near Eterpigny. 
Through some error no billets were available at this spot and, 
as a cold rain fell heavily, an uncomfortable night followed. 

October 13th was spent by the troops in locating suitable bil 
lets and in resting. On the following morning the men bathed 
at St. Rohart Factory, near Vis-en-Artois, and paraded for pay 
in the afternoon, Lieut. A. T. Howard officiating as Paymaster in 
the absence of Capt. Appleton, who was on leave. 

On this date Lieut-Col. K. M. Perry, D.S.O. returned to as 
sume command of the Battalion. It will be remembered that he 
had left the 13th in May to command the 87th Battalion, Canadian 
Grenadier Guards. At that time Perry had stipulated that if the 
command of his own unit should become vacant he would be per 
mitted to return. When Lieut. -Col. McCuaig had been given com- 

[296] 



THE LAST OF THE FIGHTING 

mand of a brigade Perry could not be spared by the 87th and the 
higher command, knowing that in Sinclair the 13th had an efficient 
and experienced officer, delayed putting Perry s re-transfer through 
until his place with the Guards could be satisfactorily filled. After 
handing over to Perry, Sinclair, who had led the Battalion through 
exceedingly difficult times, went on leave to England. This leave, 
incidentally, was long overdue, but Sinclair s duties with the Bat 
talion had been quite too arduous for him to consider taking it. 
Now, however, he could do so with a free conscience. 

Three more days were spent at Eterpigny, officers and men 
drilling hard to take advantage of the short period before they 
would be called on again to move up into the line. During this 
period there appeared a list of honours "for conspicuous gallantry 
in the Cagnicourt operations of September 2nd." Five officers 
were named in this list, Major W. E. Macfarlane receiving a Bar 
to his Military Cross, while the Military Cross was awarded to 
Capt. H. A. J. Cochrane (Medical Officer) and to Lieuts. F. S. 
Stowell, J. B. Beddome and D. L. Carstairs. The Distinguished 
Conduct Medal was granted to Regimental Sergt.-Major T. Sim, 
Coy. Sergt.-Major A. Watson, Sergt. T. Imrie, Sergt. A. Fernie, 
Sergt. J. Dickie and to Private C. Raine. 

On October 18th the Royal Highlanders paraded at 7.45 a.m. 
in heavy marching order and proceeded, via Etaing, Lecluse and 
Tortequenne, to Estrees. The roads were muddy and congested 
with traffic, nevertheless Estrees was reached about noon and din 
ner promptly served. Billets here were satisfactory, but the High 
landers were only a few hours in occupation when orders were 
received to move again. This time a two hour march brought the 
men to Roccourt, where they settled down for the night. 

Ill 

In accordance with Operation Order No. 213, the Royal High 
landers moved forward early on the morning of October 19th and 
advanced in support of the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal Regi 
ment, which was pursuing the retiring Hun. No opposition was 
encountered, and at 10 a.m. "C" Coy., on the left front, reported 
Bruille les Marchiennes clear of the enemy. Battalion Headquar 
ters passed through Somain at 1 p.m. 

The advance of the Canadian Corps had by this time brought 
the troops far back of the "War Zone" to which they had become 

[297] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

accustomed and into a district where the capture of a town or 
village did not mean the occupation of a few evil smelling cellars 
with a mass of debris overhead, but implied the liberation of terri 
tory almost untouched by shell fire and the freeing of French 
civilians who had spent weary years in virtual captivity. 

Just as no one other than a soldier can perfectly visualize a 
modern battle, or the ghastly monotony and physical exhaustion 
of long days and nights in flooded trenches, so no one who has 
not suffered the experience can really appreciate the mental anguish 
that the French and Belgian civilians must have endured while 
their every going and coming was controlled and directed by an 
unscrupulous enemy, the foulness of whose actions in occupied 
territory constitutes a record in infamy for civilized nations. 

The men of the 13th Battalion will never forget the scenes in 
Somain on the 19th of October. Old men and women crowded 
about them, eager to press on them gifts of food and flowers and 
cups of coffee, while every once in a while from some heart over 
flowing with emotion would arise a shout of "Vive la France!" 
At this the townspeople would look fearfully around, forgetful for 
the fraction of a second that the iron heel of the invader had been 
definitely lifted, then with full remembrance would come tears of 
thanksgiving, more shouts of "Vive la France!" and blessings on 
the heads of the brave Canadian troops who had effected the town s 
deliverance. Midst all the excitement that prevailed several French 
flags, concealed for years against the day when the vile Boche 
should rule no more, were produced from their secret hiding places 
and given proudly to the breeze. The Highlanders, however, could 
not delay their advance to take much part in the rejoicings. Fritz 
was on the run, but only continued and relentless pressure would 
keep him moving. Accordingly the advance was not allowed 
to halt, and by 3.15 p.m. Battalion Headquarters had been estab 
lished near Hornaing. 

At this point Lieut.-Col. Worrall, of the 14th Battalion, advised 
Lieut-Col. Perry that the 14th and 16th Battalions would halt for 
the night on the line they had reached, joining up with the 1st 
Canadian Infantry Brigade on their left. As the 4th Canadian 
Division had not come up on the right, the 13th Battalion was 
placed for the night to form a defensive flank. 

At 7 o clock on the morning of October 20th the 13th Battalion 
passed through the 14th Battalion on the right of the 3rd Brigade 

[298] 



THE LAST OF THE FIGHTING 

front, the 15th Battalion passing through the 16th Battalion on the 
left. The advance of the Brigade was then continued. Forty 
minutes later Capt. A. W. Ruston, O.C. "B" Coy., which was on 
the right flank, reported that his men had passed through the vil 
lage of Wallers. Two or three machine guns were offering some 
opposition to his further advance. Lieut.-Col. Perry rode through 
Wallers at 10 a.m., in order to keep closely in touch with the pro 
gress of the advance. At 10.50 a.m. "C" Coy., on the left front, 
came under heavy machine gun fire and also under the fire of field 
guns at short range, whereupon the Colonel returned to Battalion 
Headquarters and reported to Brigade that his companies were 
temporarily held up. 

It appeared at this time that the advance of the 3rd Brigade 
had momentarily outstripped that of the 4th Division on the right. 
Accordingly a halt was made and cyclist patrols despatched to dis 
cover just how the situation lay. During the day the Battalion 
suffered several casualties. The majority of these were not seri 
ous, but to the regret of those with whom he had come in contact 
and of those who had known him personally in other spheres, 
Lieut. W. Stewart, who had joined the Battalion less than a fort 
night before, was killed in action. 

By nightfall the 13th was in touch with the 15th on the left 
flank and the 54th Battalion, of the 4th Canadian Division, on the 
right. Preparations were accordingly made for continuing the 
advance on the morrow. At 4 o clock on the morning of the 21st 
Lieut.-Col. Perry issued an operation order with instructions for 
the day s advance. "A" and "D" Companies were to carry out the 
move, with "B" Coy. in support and "C" Coy. in reserve. The 
14th and 16th Battalions were to pass through the 13th and 15th 
when the advance had progressed a specified distance. Emphasis 
was given to the order that the advance was to be carried out only 
if the opposition was slight. Officers were instructed to see that 
heavy casualties were avoided. 

Shortly after this order had been distributed, Lieut. J. Kerry 
took a patrol forward and, returning at 7 a.m., reported that the 
village of Aremberg had been evacuated by the enemy. The ad 
vance of the 13th was to have begun at 9 a.m., but at 7.30 a.m., 
Brigade telephoned and instructed the Battalion to move forth 
with. By 10 o clock "A" Coy. had reached its objective and some 
time later Battalion Headquarters was advanced to near Aremberg. 

[299] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

During these moves five British planes circling overhead were 
seen to draw fire from hostile artillery. A German plane which 
came forward, flying low in an effort to establish how far the Can 
adians had advanced, was driven off by a battery of anti-aircraft 
guns, mounted on trucks, which kept pace with the forward move 
ment of the Infantry. At 5 p.m. an outpost line was established 
east of Aremberg and the remainder of the Battalion was with 
drawn into the village. No sounds of firing were heard during 
the night and everything indicated that the enemy was quite unable 
to make a stand and was retiring rapidly. 

At 9 o clock on the morning of October 22nd a battalion of the 
9th Infantry Brigade, 3rd Canadian Division, passed through 
Aremberg and took up the pursuit of the enemy, the Royal High 
landers remaining at Aremberg during the forenoon and march 
ing to billets at Fenain immediately after midday dinner. Casual 
ties during the tour in the line totalled 26 all ranks. One officer 
and four men were killed, while Lieut. J. J. Marshall was slightly 
wounded. Twenty other ranks were wounded. 

Leaving Aremberg, the route followed by the Battalion led 
through Wallers, Hornaing and Erre. In each of these little towns 
and villages the troops were enthusiastically greeted, amid scenes 
of emotion on the part of the civilians whose joy in their deliver 
ance remained unabated. Evidence of the eagerness of these poor 
people to assist the Canadian advance in any way and to help in 
the undoing of the Boche was furnished at numerous road cross 
ings, where the retreating enemy had blown large mines. Into the 
resulting craters the civilians had flung all manner of bulky 
articles, even mattresses and furniture, with a view to assisting the 
Engineers to bridge the yawning gaps, lest the hated masters of 
yesterday should escape the retribution that was treading on their 
heels. 

At the beginning of the march to Fenain, "Flora Macdonald," 
the Battalion goat, occupied her usual proud place at the head of 
the Regiment. She seemed in good spirits and swung into step 
as soon as her beloved pipes struck up one of the tunes she knew 
so well. But, alas, it was Flora s final appearance! She sickened 
on the march and died within a few minutes. One wonders if she 
knew that her task was finished, that the Battalion she had served 
so faithfully and loved so well was never again to fire a shot in 
action nor charge against the trenches of the enemy in grey. If 

[300] 



THE LAST OF THE FIGHTING 

so, she knew more than the Royal Highlanders themselves even 
suspected. To them the move to Fenain meant merely a period 
of training preparatory to further effort against the Hun. 

No time was lost in starting to train. Cleaning of equipment 
and replacing shortages in kit occupied the time of the men on 
October 23rd, but on the following day drills commenced at an 
early hour in the morning and continued without intermission till 
noon. The afternoon was devoted to games, these proving of 
tremendous interest to the civilian population, who, although their 
knowledge of the finer points was scant, entered thoroughly into 
the spirit of the play and applauded vociferously at frequent 
intervals. 

During the remainder of October, life was very agreeable for 
the men of the 13th. They worked hard, but not too hard, and 
when work was finished for another day they sauntered about the 
streets of the little town, making friends and exchanging amenities 
with the townspeople. The fact that the troops and their hosts 
spoke different languages provided no serious obstacle to mutual 
understanding. Where words failed, gestures and expressive facial 
contortions seemed to convey all the sense that was required. So 
the villagers learned of the glory that was Vimy; of the horrors 
of the Somme ; and of Canada across the sea, while the High 
landers listened with ever growing indignation to tales of how the 
Hun had acted during his long years of mastery. 

On October 24th all ranks of the Battalion were pleased by 
the announcement that Major E. E. Graham, M.C., the Regimental 
Chaplain, had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order for 
gallantry in rescuing wounded under heavy fire at the beginning 
of the Battle of Arras in August. Late in September Major 
Graham had been wounded and sent back to hospital, where he 
was recovering from his injuries at the time the above award was 
made. 

At 3 p.m. on November 1st, the 13th Battalion, including the 
Transport, paraded and, together with the other units of the 3rd 
Brigade, was inspected by Major-General A. C. Macdonell, G.O.C., 
the 1st Canadian Division. Just as the inspection commenced, 
H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, who at this time was attached to the 
Staff of the Canadian Corps, arrived on the scene and accompanied 
the Divisional Commander through the ranks. Afterwards His 
Royal Highness took the salute as the Battalion marched past 

[ 301 ] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

As November wore its way along, the troops, for the first time, 
began to take seriously the talk of a cessation of hostilities. Always 
before the possibility had seemed remote, but now, with Austria, 
Bulgaria and Turkey definitely defeated and with the German 
armies reeling back before the heavy blows of the combined 
French, Belgians, Americans and British, the likelihood of such a 
development became obvious. On November 9th news was re 
ceived that German delegates, under the white flag, had arrived 
at some unnamed spot seeking terms for an armistice. Would they 
get terms, or would they not? Opinions differed, some maintain 
ing that no terms were possible till Germany had been crushed 
and invaded, others insisting that Germany was already crushed 
and could be made to accept whatever terms the Allied peoples 
might care to impose. 

Meanwhile, far in advance of the line which the 13th had 
handed over on the morning of October 22nd, troops of the 3rd, 
4th and 2nd Canadian Divisions, in co-operation with the British 
forces, were flinging the Hun from one position after another. 
As a result of heavy fighting, Valenciennes was entered on Novem 
ber 1st and cleared of the enemy by November 2nd. Steady pro 
gress continued from this point and, early on the morning of 
November llth, patrols of the 42nd Battalion, Royal Highlanders 
of Canada, entered Mons. 

Thus when the llth hour of the day arrived and the Great War 
came to an end, the British Army stood fast on the ground where 
the "Old Contemptibles" had given of their glorious best when 
first they met the onrushing Hun four weary years before. Out 
numbered and outgunned, but never outgamed, the "Old Contemp 
tibles" had been forced out of Mons and back to the Marne not 
a tremendous distance if measured in miles but one which the 
British Army covered and retraced only at the cost of a million 
British lives and a toll of sacrifice too great for the mind of man 
to conceive. But the price had been paid ; Mons was again in 
British hands and its inhabitants, free at last, heard again the 
skirl of the pipes and witnessed the march of khaki battalions, 
some kilted, as had been the case in 1914, others in the familiar 
trews and puttees, till it seemed to the Belgians that the very men 
of 1914 were back in Mons again. Such was not the case. The 
"Old Contemptibles" had died on the road to the Marne, on the 
Aisne, at Ypres and at Neuve Chapelle, bequeathing a tradition of 

[302] 



THE LAST OF THE FIGHTING 

indomitable courage when faced with appalling odds that was an 
inspiration to the troops who followed, not least to those with 
"Canada" on their shoulders whose final effort had effected the 
recapture of Mons, a city which, together with Ypres, will hold 
a significant place in the hearts of the British and Canadian 
peoples as long as the generation which knew the men of the Great 
War shall endure. 



[303] 



CHAPTER XXIV 

The March to the Rhine 

March, march, Ettrick and Teviotdale, 

Why the deil dinna ye march forward in order? 

March, march, Eskdale and Liddesdale, 

All the Blue Bonnets are bound for the Border. 

SiR WALTER SCOTT. 
I 

TO the men of the 13th Battalion in billets at Fenain, news 
of the capture of Mons and the signing of the Armistice 
brought a sense of bewilderment and anti-climax. What, 
under such circumstances, did a battalion do ? Did it continue to 
train for battle, or did it in some mysterious way prepare for 
peace? The men discussed these questions interestedly, but, as 
no definite answer was forthcoming, they shrugged their shoulders 
and, with true fatalism, decided to wait and see. What would be, 

would be. 

Meanwhile, the civilian population had decked the streets with 
bunting and were celebrating to the best of their ability. At night 
a huge bonfire was lighted on the parade ground between Fenain 
and Somain and around this gathered the population of the two 
villages and the troops billeted in the vicinity. In an effort to 
make the occasion memorable from a scenic point of view, large 
numbers of Very lights and signal rockets were sent up into the 
sky. Viewing these with an approving eye, one veteran N.C.O. 
was heard to observe that he had never seen a Canadian S.O.S. 
signal look attractive before. 

Very aptly, a lengthy honours list appeared in the day s orders, 
Sergt. W. Hannaford, D.C.M., M.M., receiving a Bar to his Mili 
tary Medal, as did Sergts. G. Dunmore and C. H. Camm. The 
Military Medal was granted to 26 other ranks, among the recipi 
ents being Sergt. D. Simard and Private J. M. Buick, both of 
whom had previously won the Distinguished Conduct Medal. 

On November 12th all doubt as to what the Battalion would 
do in the immediate future was set at rest when it became known 

[304] 



THE MARCH TO THE RHINE 

that the Canadian Corps, (consisting, as arranged later, of the 1st 
and 2nd Canadian Divisions), was to join in the long march of the 
British Army to the Rhine. 

In accordance with Operation Order No. 218, the Royal High 
landers paraded in battle order at 7.30 a.m. on November 13th 
and marched to the Aubry-la Sentinelle area, which was reached 
some few hours later. On the following day the route lay along 
the northern outskirts of Valenciennes, thence, via the Mons Road, 
to Quievraira and Elouges, this latter point being reached about 
3.45 p.m. 

November 15th was fine and cool and the Royal Highlanders, 
parading at 9 a.m., reached Quaregnon in three and a half hours 
without difficulty, though the roads were congested by hundreds 
of civilians who, with all their worldly goods on small push carts, 
were returning to the homes whence the Hun had driven them. 

No move was made by the Highlanders on November 16th and 
17th. On the former date some reorganizations were carried out. 
a number of men attached to Battalion Headquarters being re 
turned to duty with the companies, and the Trench Mortar Section 
being disbanded, its personnel also returning to duty with the 
companies. On Sunday, November 17th, Divine Service was held 
at 10 a.m. for the main body of the Battalion, the Roman Catholic 
party, under Capt. R. L. Calder, M.C., having proceeded to the 
celebration of Mass in the local church an hour earlier. In the 
afternoon the Pipe Band of the 13th proceeded to Jemappes to 
take part in a special liberation celebration. 

The following morning was cold and wet, nevertheless the Bat 
talion paraded at 6.25 o clock and moved forward, crossing the 
Armistice Line at 11 a.m., halting for lunch north of the Jurbise- 
Soignies Railway and completing a 15 mile march to Chaussee- 
Notre-Dame-Louvignies by 2.30 p.m. Being the first British troops 
to enter Chaussee-Notre-Dame-Louvignies, the men of the 13th 
received an enthusiastic welcome. 

Two days were spent here, and on the morning of November 
21st the advance was continued. Marching at 7.40 a.m., the High 
landers passed through Soignies, a large town where the inhabi 
tants lined the streets and cheered the Canadians vociferously. 
Braine-le-Comte was the next town en route, after which came a 
stretch of wooded and hilly country that was most attractive. 
Ronquieres was passed through and finally, after a march of about 

[305] 
20 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

26 kilometres, the Battalion reached Nivelles. "A" Coy. proceeded 
beyond the town that night to mount guard over a large dump of 
enemy war material. The men of the other companies, in spite 
of the fatigue of the day s march, joined the civilians in a cele 
bration in the Town Square which lasted far into the night. 

Two days were spent at Nivelles, the troops resting on Novem 
ber 22nd and parading in full marching order for inspection by 
the Commanding Officer on the 23rd. Several parties of officers 
took the opportunity to visit the historic battlefield of Waterloo, 
only a few kilometres away. Reveille sounded at 4 o clock on the 
morning of November 24th and three hours later the Battalion, 
with "C" Coy. acting as vanguard, moved forward. At the first 
halt outside Nivelles the company pipers were brought together 
and marched thereafter as a full band in the centre of the column. 
About 10 a.m. Bonaire was reached and the companies settled down 
in billets, the vanguard, under command of Major J. D. Macpher- 
son, M.C., proceeding forward and establishing examining posts 
on all roads leading into the Brigade area. 

Five miles was all that the men were asked to march on No 
vember 25th. Accordingly the start was not made until 2 p.m. 
Roads were muddy and the weather disagreeable, but good time 
was made and Mellery reached in due course. Here the Battalion 
remained on November 26th, the companies spending the morn 
ing in light training. Mounting the guard in the afternoon pro 
vided the civilian population with a spectacle which they enjoyed 
keenly, the Pipe Band arousing many favourable comments. 

With a long march of 35 kilometres ahead of them, the men 
of the 13th rose early on November 27th and got away soon after 
daylight. A drizzling rain and cold wind made the morning s 
march anything but agreeable and spoiled the pleasure of the mid 
day halt. Consequently it was a tired and "fed up" Battalion 
which arrived at Waret la Chaussee at 6 p.m. 

If the march on November 27th was disagreeable, that on the 
following day was more so. Great difficulty had been experienced 
in keeping the forward troops supplied with rations, but on this 
date, for the first time, rations definitely failed to appear. Accord 
ingly, at 8.20 a.m. the troops marched without any breakfast. Rain 
fell heavily during the day, but in spite of this the inhabitants 
of Petit Waret turned out en masse to cheer the Battalion through 
the town. After a march of 15 kilometres, the hungry troops 

[3061 



THE MARCH TO THE RHINE 

reached Couthuin at 1.30 p.m., hoping that in some mysterious 
way rations would have arrived before them. Visions of a hot 
meal faded during the afternoon, but just when hope had been 
abandoned and the troops were preparing to go supperless and 
blanketless to bed, supplies arrived and the men received their first 
meal of the day. 

Orders were issued for a short move to Bas Oha on November 
29th, but, owing to continued difficulty in bringing forward rations, 
this move was postponed until the morning of the 30th. At Bas 
Oha, a beautiful little village on the banks of the Meuse, the 13th 
Battalion remained for two days. Proceeding again on Decem 
ber 2nd, the Royal Highlanders crossed the Meuse at Huy and, 
after a march of 23 kilometres through mountainous and heavily 
wooded country, reached Jenneret at half past three in the after 
noon. 

Fine weather prevailed on December 3rd when the Battalion, 
in battle order, continued the march at 11.15 a.m. Ten kilometres 
was the distance set for the day and billets at Hamoir were reached 
shortly after 1.30 p.m. The march on December 4th provided an 
entirely different set of conditions, as the weather was bad, the 
roads ankle deep in mud and the distance to be covered 28 kilo 
metres. Starting at 8.45 a.m., the men toiled up the long hill lead 
ing to Pilot and slogged steadily along until 10 kilometres had 
been left behind, when a halt was made for dinner. Resuming the 
march, the Battalion reeled off 18 kilometres in three and a half 
hours, a very creditable performance considering the heavy and 
ploughed-up condition of the roads. 

At Basse Bodeux and Haute Bodeux, which were the destina 
tions on December 4th, the Battalion rested on the day that fol 
lowed. The difficulty in connection with rations had been over 
come by this time and the troops were served full meals at the 
regular hours. Tobacco supplies were short, however, as the 
Y.M.C.A. and similar canteens where the men had been wont to 
augment their rations, had been unable to keep pace with the for 
ward battalions. 

On December 6th a march of 22 kilometres was accomplished 
to the village of Petit Thier. This brought the Royal High 
landers to within a few miles of the German border and well with 
in that section of Belgium where German influence had, even 
before the war, been paramount. The difference was noticeable 

[307] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

in all the little towns and villages through which the Battalion 
passed. Above the public buildings and over many of the private 
houses the Belgian flag floated in the breeze, but in the streets 
there were no demonstrations of enthusiasm and no shouts of 
warm hearted greeting. Instead the townspeople were polite, with 
that frigid and studied courtesy which might well conceal intense 
dislike. Accordingly, it was no surprise to the Canadians to find 
on the village notice boards a warning to the inhabitants from Sir 
Douglas Haig that all acts of hostility against His Majesty s 
Forces, or any wanton destruction of roads, railways or telegraphs, 
would be regarded as a serious offense punishable by death. 

On the morning of December 7th, considerable excitement pre 
vailed amongst officers and men of the 13th, for the day s march 
would carry them over the German border. Extra pains were 
taken to see that the Battalion was at its smartest, with the result 
that, when the men paraded in full marching order at 9 a.m., a 
critical inspection would not have disclosed much amiss. 

On reaching the Frontier, at Poteau, at 9.30 a.m., the Band of 
the Royal Highlanders swung to the right and played the Bat 
talion across the Line to the stirring tune of "Blue Bonnets over 
the Border." For all ranks the moment held a deep significance. 
Almost it seemed as if marching by their sides were those gallant 
officers and men, a full battalion of them, who, at the sacrifice of 
their lives had helped to bring this hour about. 

Continuing the march, the 13th passed through the villages 
of Recht and Amel, where children with close cropped heads stared 
curiously from the roadsides, their elders keeping discreetly out 
of sight and contenting themselves with a view of the troops 
through half closed doors and windows. Eventually, after a march 
of 18 kilometres, the men of the 13th were billeted in Moderscheid. 

Very appropriately, the entry of the Battalion into German ter 
ritory was marked by the appearance in orders of a list of honours 
won during the great battles of the autumn. In this list Lieut.- 
Col. K. M. Perry was awarded a Bar to his Distinguished Service 
Order, while the Distinguished Service Order was granted to Major 
I. M. R. Sinclair, M.C., and to Capt. H. A. Johnston, M.C. The 
Military Cross was awarded to Lieuts. W. F. McGovern and R. H. 
Hebden, while Private W. Trumper received a Bar to his Military 
Medal. The Distinguished Conduct Medal was granted to Lance- 
Corp. J. Junor, who had previously won the Military Medal, and 

[308] 




EXTRAIXIXG AT BEXSBERG, JAXUARY STH, 1919. 

Canadian Official, Copyright. 




COLOURS PRESENTED ix GERMAXV BY H.R.H. PRFXCE ARTHUR OF 
COXXATGHT. JAXUARV 4rn, 1919. 

Canadian Official, Copyright. 



THE MARCH TO THE RHINE 

the Military Medal was awarded to Lance-Sergt. J. T. McGuire, 
Private G. M. Kelly, Private H. G. Wills and Private F. Borden. 

After a day of rest at Moderscheid, the men of the 13th Bat 
talion rose early on December 9th and prepared to march to Hel- 
lenthal. Civilian horses and wagons were requisitioned to carry 
the men s packs and the 29 kilometre march was swung off in six 
and a half hours. The marching of the men was splendid on this 
occasion, all ranks feeling the stimulus of marching through enemy 
country and being anxious to furnish the inhabitants with ocular 
proof that the Canadian Corps was very different to the German 
troops who, from the littered appearance of the roadsides, had 
apparently retreated through the district shortly before the Cana 
dians arrived. 

Continuing the move on December 10th, the Royal Highlanders 
passed through Sistig, Kail and Roggendorf, completing a march 
of 29 kilometres to Schaven and Gehn about 3 p.m. No rest was 
given to the men on the following day, but instead orders called 
for another 30 kilometres march to Pingsdorf. En route the Bat 
talion marched past the 1st Canadian Divisional Commander, who 
requested the Colonel to convey to all ranks of the Battalion his 
pride and satisfaction in the showing they had made. At the same 
time the Colonel announced that the Battalion would proceed to 
the outskirts of Cologne on the following morning, would have 
the afternoon to clean and polish equipment and would then, 
on the next day, take part in the march of the British Army across 
the Rhine. 

In accordance with this arrangement the Royal Highlanders 
paraded on the morning of December 12th and marched to Roden- 
kirchen, a suburb of Cologne. In this neighbourhood the whole 
3rd Canadian Infantry Brigade was assembled and the afternoon 
was given over to what in Army parlance is known as "spit and 
polish," the men being anxious that every button, every buckle 
and every bit of leather equipment should be shining for the great 
event of the morrow. 

December 13th dawned wet and unpromising, nevertheless the 
men were early astir and at 8.20 a.m., with the Band leading, and 
with H.Q., "C", "B" , "A" and "D" Companies and the Transport 
following in the order named, the Battalion marched towards 
Cologne. On entering the City, bayonets were fixed and the march 
continued at the "slope." 

[309] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

The 3rd Canadian Brigade had the honour of leading the 1st 
Division across the Rhine and, on the toss of a coin, the distinction 
of heading the Brigade fell to the 14th Battalion, Royal Montreal 
Regiment, the 15th Battalion (48th Highlanders), of Toronto, the 
16th Battalion, Canadian Scottish, and the 13th Battalion, Royal 
Highlanders of Canada, following in the order named. 

It was exactly 9.56 a.m. when Lieut.-Col. Perry led the 13th 
Battalion onto the New, or Southern, Bridge, the men marching 
splendidly behind the Band to the familiar tune of "Blue Bonnets 
over the Border." At the east side of the Bridge Major-Gen. 
A. C. Macdonell, accompanied by Brig.-Gen. G. S. Tuxford and 
their respective Staffs and escorted by a squadron of the Canadian 
Light Horse, took the Battalion s salute. General Sir H. Plumer, 
G.C.B., G.C.M.G., Commanding the Second Army, arrived at the 
saluting point during the march past of the Battalion and ex 
pressed himself as well pleased with the troops appearance and 
bearing. 

Thus, on December 13th, exactly a month from the day when 
the concentration for the march started, the 13th Battalion, Royal 

J 

Highlanders of Canada, reached and crossed the Rhine. 

n 

Once across the Rhine, the various units of the Canadian Corps, 
which was to hold the Right Section of the Cologne-Bonn Bridge 
head, unfixed bayonets and marched "at ease" to the towns and 
villages where billets had been arranged for them. 

In the case of the 13th Battalion the village of Heumar was 
the destination selected. Comfortable billets were secured at this 
spot and the men settled down almost at once to the ordinary 
routine of life in peaceful surroundings. Immediately after the 
arrival of the Battalion a further list of decorations for gallantry 
in the field was posted. Lieut. J. E. Christie was awarded a Bar 
to his Military Cross, Capt. E. Appleby, who had won the Military 
Medal while serving in the ranks, received the Military Cross, 
while the splendid work of Regimental Sergeant-Major F. Butler 
was rewarded by the bestowal of the Military Cross and a Bar 
to his Distinguished Conduct Medal. Later in the month the Mili 
tary Cross was awarded to Capt. R. E. Heaslip, Lieut. W. E. Dun 
ning and Lieut. J. R. Ferguson. 

On December 15th the men of the Battalion were paid in Ger- 

[310] 



THE MARCH TO THE RHINE 

man marks for the first time, it being announced that the rate of 
exchange for the occasion would be on the basis of 5 marks being 
worth 2/8d, or 3.50 francs. On the following day "A" Coy. pro 
ceeded to Cologne to mount guard over enemy war material, while 
the other companies lined the road through the village to welcome 
the Commander-in-Chief, Sir Douglas Haig. Something of a 
ceremony was made of this event, Sir Douglas, who was accom 
panied by the Canadian Corps Commander, Sir Arthur Currie, and 
by Major-Gen. A. C. Macdonell, G.O.C. the 1st Canadian Division, 
alighting from his automobile, greeting Brig.-Gen. Tuxford and 
Lieut.-Col. Perry and, with his whole entourage, passing through 
the Battalion lines on foot. During his progress he was greeted 
by such a roar of cheers that the strains of the Pipe Band, playing 
"Highland Laddie," were almost drowned out. Afterwards Sir 
Douglas expressed himself as being much gratified by the warmth 
of his reception. 

Battalion Headquarters moved to a large hotel in Rath on the 
morning of December 18th, and on the 21st "B" Coy. proceeded to 
Cologne to relieve "A" Coy. guarding enemy war material. Divine 
Service was held on the parade ground on the 22nd, and on the 
24th the Battalion was inspected by Major-Gen. Macdonell, who 
took the opportunity to wish the men "a very Merry Christmas." 
On this same date the Royal Highlanders welcomed back to duty 
Major F. S. Mathewson, Major W. E. Macfarlane, M.C., and Capt. 
H. A. Johnston, D.S.O., M.C., all of whom had recovered from 
their wounds and injuries. 

Snow fell during the night of December 24th and Christmas 
day dawned with a white mantle covering the whole countryside. 
Holy Communion was celebrated at 10 a.m. for those who desired 
to attend, while the morning was also marked by a football game 
against a team from the 16th Battalion. The slippery field mili 
tated against good play, but spectators and players enjoyed the 
fun, the 16th winning the game by a considerable margin. 

Although turkeys and similar luxuries were not available, the 
Battalion cooks displayed commendable ingenuity in their im 
portant task and served a Christmas dinner that was unanimously 
voted excellent. According to established custom, Lieut.-Col. 
Perry, escorted by his Piper and accompanied by Major Sinclair 
and Lieut. Smith, his Second-in-Command and Adjutant, visited 
the Company Messes while dinner was in progress to wish the 

[311] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

men good luck. Everywhere his arrival was greeted with much 
enthusiasm. 

Two quiet days followed the Christmas celebrations, then, on 
December 28th, the Battalion moved by train, "A", "B" and "D" 
Companies to Loope, "C" Coy. to Vilkerath and Headquarters to 
an old chateau in Ehreshoven. New Year s Eve was celebrated 
in keeping with the traditions of a Highland battalion. The officers 
entertained a number of friends, while the men formed parties of 
their own and passed the night in suitable revelry. As the bell of 
the ancient chateau pealed out the Old Year, voices could be heard 
singing, enthusiastically, even if a little off key, the time honoured 
greeting, "A Guid New Year to Ane and A ," while the pipers 
struck up a tune to bid the New Year welcome. And the New 
Year was welcome in a way that none of its four predecessors had 
been. Those years had been ushered in, it is true, with merriment 
and feasting, just as this, but at all previous celebrations there 
had been one unbidden guest ; a guest whose presence was deliber 
ately ignored, but of whose sombre shadow no one could be un 
aware. But now the shadow had departed and the New Year was 
full of promise in consequence. 

With the advent of 1919, the Royal Highlanders prepared for 
the ceremony of receiving Regimental Colours. His Royal High 
ness Prince Arthur of Connaught consented to present these, and 
the ceremony took place on January 4th in one of the fields of the 
Castle at Ehreshoven. Prince Arthur, who was accompanied by 
Major-Gen. Sir A. C. Macdonell and Brig.-Gen. G. S. Tuxford, in 
spected the Battalion, which was drawn up waiting for his arrival. 
Major Creegan, Chaplain of the 1st Canadian Division, then blessed 
the Colours, after which Prince Arthur, with traditional ceremony, 
handed them to the Battalion for safe keeping. When the presen 
tation was over the 13th Battalion shared with the 14th Battalion, 
which had received colours an hour before, the rare distinction of 
having been given colours by a Prince of the Royal House of 
Windsor on enemy soil. In a speech to the men of the unit after 
the formal moves had been completed, Prince Arthur referred to 
the great honour that it was for a battalion to receive colours in 
such a manner. He mentioned that he had been attached to the 
Canadian Corps Staff for over two years and was in consequence 
thoroughly aware of the striking services the 13th had rendered. 
He then recalled his first visit to the Battalion, at Salisbury Plain, 

[312] 



THE MARCH TO THE RHINE 

in 1915, and concluded by stating that if the men carried with them 
into civilian life the same determination and the same spirit dis 
played throughout the war, he had no fear for the future of 
Canada. 



[313] 



CHAPTER XXV 

Back from Germany and Home to 

Canada 

The tumult and the shouting dies, 
The captains and the kings depart, 
Still stands Thine ancient Sacrifice 
An humble and a contrite heart. 
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 
Lest we forget lest we forget. 

RUDYARD KIPI.ING. 
I 

THE presentation of Colours by H.R.H. Prince Arthur of 
Connaught marked the end of the Battalion s stay in Ger 
many. Parading on the following morning, January 5th, 
the Royal Highlanders marched to Bensburg, entraining at that 
point at 2.50 p.m., crossing back over the Rhine at 4 p.m., passing 
the night on the train and arriving at Huy, Belgium, early on the 
morning of the 6th. From Huy the Battalion marched a short 
distance to the village of Wanze, where billets were taken over 
from the 10th Queen s R.W. Surrey Regiment. These billets being 
in a friendly country, the order which had prevailed in Germany 
that officers and men must go armed at all times was cancelled. 
Simultaneously it was announced that Regimental censorship of let 
ters would no longer be considered necessary. 

With the arrival of the Battalion at Wanze, educational classes, 
under the supervision of Capt. J. B. Beddome, M.C., were made 
a daily feature of the men s routine. Many of the latter had been 
on active service for several years and felt that their chances of 
success in civilian life would be enhanced if defects in their elemen 
tary education could be remedied. Every effort was made to help 
these men, courses being provided in subjects that would almost 
certainly prove useful. Capt. Beddome also instituted classes for 
those who thought that a knowledge of the French language 
would help them, while Lieut. J. M. Moyes taught drawing and 
similar subjects to those whose tastes lay in that direction. 

To provide diversion for the men in the evenings Capt. Walker 
was appointed "O.C. Entertainments" and drew up a programme 

[314] 



BACK FROM GERMANY TO CANADA 

which included dances, concerts and similar forms of amusement. 
To many of these the men were permitted to bring the demoiselles 
of the village, most of whom had picked up the "new" dances and 
all of whom seemed anxious to make the stay of the Canadians as 
agreeable as possible. To fill the off-duty hours of daylight an 
inter-company football league was formed and several organiza 
tions of a like character were brought into being, these serving 
in some degree to occupy the attention of the men and to keep 
them interested during the long wait that of necessity ensued 
before they could be returned to Canada. 

On January 15th it was announced that the Distinguished Con 
duct Medal had been awarded to Sergt. J. F. McLean, while on 
the following day an Army Order was issued with regard to the 
1914-15 Star. This stated that all ranks who had served in an actual 
theatre of war previous to December 31st, 1915, might wear the 
riband of the Star, without waiting to receive the decoration itself 
or any individual gazetting. A large number of officers and men 
in the 13th were qualified for this honour and in consequence the 
red, white and blue riband soon appeared on many tunics. Later 
in the month it was announced that the Meritorious Service Medal 
had been awarded to Sergt. J. A. Ayling, Sergt. W. Ganson, Sergt. 
W. R. Burden and to Lance-Corp. J. C. Sanders. A further an 
nouncement of interest was made at the close of the month when 
it became known that the Divisional Commander s Whip, em 
blematic of 3rd Brigade Transport supremacy, would remain per 
manently in the possession of the 13th Battalion, the Royal High 
landers having won this more frequently than any of the other 
battalions 

All during February, 1919, the 13th Battalion remained at 
Wanze, the time being employed in much the same way as during 
January, that is to say in the general routine of a battalion in bil 
lets, with such diversion as the time and place afforded. 

On February 3rd a Composite Company, including in its ranks 
picked men from every section of the Battalion, entrained at Huy 
and proceeded to Liege to take part in a great review. The salute 
on this occasion was taken by Lieut.-Gen. Jacques, K.C.M.G., of 
the Belgian Army, who afterwards expressed to Major-Gen. Sir A. 
C. Macdonell, K.C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., G.O.C., the 1st Canadian 
Division, his pride in having had this honour. General Jacques 
stated that in his opinion the march past of the troops was "magnif- 

[315] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

icent." Somewhat later in the month the Composite Company, which 
was under the command of Major J. D. Macpherson, M.C., paraded 
together with the Pipe Band and Colour Party and proceeded to 
Huy, where an inspection of the Canadian Corps was held by 
Lieut-Gen. Orth, K.C.M.G., Chief of the Belgian Mission at 
British G.H.Q. General Orth, who was accompanied by many of 
the senior Canadian officers, took the opportunity to present the 
Belgian Croix de Guerre to a number of men who had won this 
decoration in the field. Amongst these was Sergt. D. K. Miller, 
of the 13th Battalion. 

Considerable interest was aroused towards the middle of Febru 
ary by a series of boxing bouts, held in the theatre at Huy. These 
were for the Divisional Championship and representatives of the 
various Brigades and Divisional Troops took part. Privates Veno 
and Quigley, of the 13th, made an excellent showing at their re 
spective weights, the latter winning through to the finals and 
disposing of his man by a knockout, and the former also reaching 
the finals, but losing the decision on points. Many other sporting 
events occurred during the month, probably the most interesting 
of these taking place on the 21st when the 13th played a South 
African team at Rugby football. After an excellent game, which 
was closer than the score might indicate, the South Africans won 
by 11-0. 

On the afternoon of February 22nd the first definite step 
towards demobilization was taken when a party of married men, 
whose dependents in the Old Country wished to return to Canada 
with them, said good-bye to the Battalion and proceeded to Eng 
land. On the following day Major I. M. R. Sinclair, D.S.O., M.C., 
assumed command of the Battalion in place of Lieut. -Col. K. M. 
Perry, D.S.O., who was leaving to attend the Staff College at 
Camberley. Meanwhile the Transport, which had been a source 
of pride to the Battalion, was being broken up, the horses being 
taken over by representatives of the Belgian Government and the 
wagons turned in to the Ordnance Corps. By the 25th of the 
month all that remained was the Medical Officer s cart and one 
rather dilapidated G.S. wagon. Another step towards demobiliza 
tion was taken when Major J. D. Macpherson, M.C., Major F. S. 
Mathewson and Capt. A. W. Appleton were appointed to audit 
all Regimental accounts. 

On February 27th a platoon from""D" Coy., under the com- 

[316] 



LIEUT. -CoL. V. C. BUCHANAN., D.S.O. 
Jan. 5th, 1916, to Sept. 26th, 1916. 



IiRiG.-(ii-:x. ( .. t). MrCuAic, C.M.G., D.S.O. 
Sept. 27th, 1916, to Sept. 14th, 1918. 




MA.I. C,i:x. SIR F. O. W. LOOM is, K.C.E., C.M.G., D.S.O 
Sept. 22nd, 1914, to Jin. 5th, 1916. 



LiKi-T.-Coi,. K. M. I I-RRY, D.S.O. 
Oct. 14th, 1918, to Feb. 28th, 1919. 



LiEuT.-Coi,. I. M. R. SINCLAIR, D.S.O., M.C. 
Feb. 28th, 1919, to Demobilization. 



COMMANDING OFFICERS, 13-ra BATTALION, R.H.C. 



BACK FROM GERMANY TO CANADA 

mand of Lieut. Mather, attended the funeral of a Belgian soldier 
in the Central Church at Huy. The civilian authorities were in 
charge of the arrangements, which were simple but impressive, the 
pipers and buglers of the 13th according military honours. At the 
conclusion of the service the organist played the British and Bel 



gian National Anthems. 



II 



Early in March it became obvious that the Battalion s time 
at Wanze was rapidly drawing to a close. Several small parties 
left for England, these being composed of men from Prince 
Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, who did not 
want to be demobilized in Montreal. All Canada was divided for 
demobilization into dispersal areas, so that men would not be 
forced to travel to some distant spot with the unit to which they 
belonged in France, but could, if they so desired, become attached 
to some other unit which would demobilize near their homes. By 
this system the individuals were spared much annoyance and the 
Government no little expense. 

To bid good-bye to the maidens of Wanze and Huy and in 
acknowledgment of all the hospitality that the troops had received 
during their stay, a "farewell" dance was given by the Battalion 
on the evening of March 4th. As several previous "farewell" 
dances had been given, some of the guests were sceptical about 
this being the very last, but such it proved, for soon afterwards 
definite orders were received that the Battalion, plus "E" Coy. 
composed of several small groups from other units in the 1st 
Division, would entrain at Huy for Havre on March 8th. 

This move duly took place and at 9.30 a.m. the train pulled out 
of the station. Splendid rationing arrangements were met with 
during the whole of the journey to Havre, which was reached at 
noon on March 10th, but in spite of good food and several issues 
of rum, the men found the trip long and wearisome. Only while 
passing through the devastated zone of France and the scenes 
of their own exploits near Arras and Mont St. Eloy was there 
much in which they were interested. 

On arrival at Havre the Battalion moved into huts at the Docks 
Rest Camp. Here a tiresome week was spent, baths, medical in 
spections and fumigations occupying a part of the time, while rifle 
inspections, light drills and a certain number of fatigues filled the 

[317] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

balance. Commissariat arrangements were excellent at this camp 
and recreation for the troops was provided by several cinema 
theatres and concert parties. 

At 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 16th, the Royal Highlanders em 
barked on the S.S. "Lorina" and sailed for England. In contrast 
to the crossing in 1915, the Channel on this occasion was quite 
smooth and few suffered more than minor qualms of sea-sickness. 
At 6 a.m. on March 17th the "Lorina" docked at Weymouth and 
the 13th Battalion, after 49 months of foreign service, found itself 
once more on British soil. 

Entraining at 9 a.m. the Royal Highlanders were conveyed to 
Liphook, whence they marched to Bramshott Camp, a distance of 
about two miles. Baths were secured for the men on March 18th 
and all clothing, blankets and bedding put through what, without 
equivocation and with no attempt at romance, was frankly called 
a "steam de-lousing process." A change of underclothes was also 
provided, so that the men were clean and comfortable and ready 
to go on leave. Twenty-two officers and 505 other ranks were 
granted leave on March 21st and on the following day the number 
of men in camp was reduced to 98, when 140 other ranks also 
went on leave. By the 25th of the month 5 officers and 12 other 
ranks alone remained on duty, but this represented low water 
mark, as on the 26th several individuals whose finances had been 
unable to stand the strain of extended leave reported back. 

Meanwhile medical examination and the preparation of docu 
ments for demobilization progressed apace. As regards the former, 
26 officers and 652 men had been examined and their condition 
recorded before the month came to an end. Light drills, sports 
and the completing of the vast number of demobilization forms 
filled the time of officers and men during the first week of April. 
Early in the second week the Battalion paraded and a special alpha 
betical muster roll was prepared to assist the process of embarka 
tion for Canada which was now imminent. 

At the last moment a case of measles broke out in the Pipe 
Band, with the result that the Pipe-Major and 25 other ranks were 
isolated and forced to abandon the expectation of accompanying 
the Battalion when it sailed. This was a great disappointment, 
not only to those who were left behind, but to all ranks, who had 
eagerly looked forward to marching through the streets of Mont 
real with their own band to lead them. 

[318] 



BACK FROM GERMANY TO CANADA 

Shortly after midnight of April 9th breakfast was served to 
the men and at 1.30 a.m. on April 10th the Battalion marched to 
Liphook Station. At 3.30 a.m. the train pulled out and at 1 p.m. 
reached Liverpool, where the Battalion embarked on the S.S. "Car- 
mania." Major-Gen. Sir A. C. Macdonell, the 1st Divisional Com 
mander, and Brig.-Gen. G. S. Tuxford, G.O.C. the 3rd Brigade, 
were both at the dock to bid the troops good-bye. In addition to 
the 13th, which embarked with a strength of 33 officers and 694 
other ranks, the "Carmania" carried the 5th, 7th, 10th and 14th 
Battalions. 

On the whole the voyage that followed was eventless. Sports 
and concerts were arranged at frequent intervals, while life boat 
drills and other minor fatigues took up a certain amount of time. 
The Y.M.C.A., in addition to taking an active part in the organiza 
tion of amusements, distributed books and magazines which were 
most acceptable. During the voyage more work was done on docu 
ments and pay books. Every man s account was closed by calcu 
lating the exact sum that would be due him on arrival in Montreal. 
In addition to this medical examinations were made in some cases 
and, where necessary, changes were made in medical history sheets, 
bringing these up to date. By hard work along these lines the 
possibility of an enforced stay in barracks was removed and the 
Battalion prepared for immediate demobilization on reaching 
Montreal. 

At 7 p.m. on April 18th the "Carmania" docked at Pier No. 2 
in Halifax and by 9 p.m. the 13th Battalion, which was the first 
unit off the boat, had boarded a train, not the 8 chevaux 40 
hommes variety and was on its way westward. 

April 19th was spent en route and the morning of Easter Sun 
day, the 20th, was devoted to "spit and polish" in preparation for 
the march in Montreal. At 2 p.m. the train pulled into Place Viger 
Station and the 13th Battalion had arrived home. Inside the sta 
tion the troops were welcomed by a Guard of Honour, by pipe and 
brass bands and by many officers of the 5th and 42nd Royal High 
landers, the latter unit having returned to Canada and been de 
mobilized some weeks before. 

The greeting extended to the 13th and 14th Battalions inside 
the station, for all its warmth and cordiality, was as nothing to 
the fervour of the demonstration accorded to them during their 
march through the streets. Having saluted the Colours, the men 

[319] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 

of the 13th, marching with fixed bayonets and wearing with pride 
the Red Hackle in their bonnets, led the way along Craig St. and 
across the Champ de Mars, where Major-Gen. E. W. Wilson took 
the salute. From the Champ de Mars the 13th and 14th proceeded 
to St. James St., along St. James to Victoria Square and up 
Beaver Hall Hill to St. Catherine St., the whole route being lined 
with thousands upon thousands of citizens, who by a great roar 
of cheering welcomed the men home and paid tribute to the record 
they had gained in France. 

When St. Catherine St. was reached a turn to the left was made 
and the 13th found itself retracing a part of the route followed 
when leaving for the war on that August night, almost five years 
before. Just as on that occasion, the crowd became denser as Peel 
St. was approached, and the roar of cheering became deafening, 
but this time the Battalion swung north instead of south and halted 
at the door of the Peel St. Barracks. Here someone with a sense 
of the dramatic had suspended a banner on which was inscribed, 
"The End of the Trail." 

Passing beneath this banner the men entered the barracks and 
were drawn up for their last parade. Major I. M. R. Sinclair, 
D.S.O., M.C., who had sailed from Canada with the original Bat 
talion as a subaltern, was in command, while the companies were 
commanded respectively by Capt. A. W. Ruston, Major F. S. 
Mathewson, Major J. D. Macpherson, M.C., and Major W. E. Mac- 
farlane, M.C., all members of the original Battalion who by reason 
of their work in France had at one time or another been promoted 
from the ranks. 

Solemnly the men saluted the Colours and awaited the 
word to dismiss. When this was given the 13th Battalion, Royal 
Highlanders of Canada, passed out of official existence, until 
December 1st, 1920, when the Canadian Militia was reorganized 
and the right to carry the title, "13th Battalion, C.E.F." given to 
the 1st Battalion, Royal Highlanders of Canada. 

Those who served in the 13th ranks and still live share with 
the reorganized 1st Battalion of the parent Regiment the guardian 
ship of a priceless heritage and an enviable tradition of duty faith 
fully performed. As for those who served and, serving, died, 

"THEIR NAME LIVETH FOR EVER MORE." 

_,.,, - - 

[320] 



Appendices 



21 



APPENDIX A. 

Honour Roll 



KILLED IN ACTION OR DIED OF WOUNDS. 



Adams, C.Q.M.S. Arthur. 

Adams, Lance-Corp. John B. 

Adams, Pte. Thomas. 

Addinell, Pte. William R. 

Addy, Pte. Frederick. 

Adkin, Pte. John D. 

Aikins, Pte. Ormal. 

Ainslie, Pte. John G. 

Ainsworth, Pte. William. 

Airth, Pte. David. 

Aitchison, Lieut. A. W., M.C. 

Aldridge, Pte. Robert. 

Allan, Pte. Andrew. 

Allan, Pte. William. 

Allen, Pte. George. 

Allen, Lance-Corp. William. 

Alvery, Pte. Owen B. 

Ambler, Pte. Leonard. 

Ames, Pte. Arnold. 

Amon, Pte. Alexander. 

Anderson, Pte. Alexander McK. 

Anderson, Sergt. John. 

Anderson, Pte. John. 

Anderson, Pte. Roy W. 

Anderson, Pte. William. 

Andrews, Pte. Jasper B. 

Anthony, Pte. James B. 

Arbuckle, Pte. Charles F. 

Archibald, Lance-Corp. William A. 

Armstrong, Pte. James. 

Armstrong, Pte. John D. 

Armstrong, Pte. John S. 

Armstrong, Pte. Russell. 

Armstrong, Lance-Corp. Wellington. 

Arrowsmith, Pte. James. 

Ash, Pte. Reginald A. 

Askin, Pte. Robert. 

Atkins, Lance-Corp. Thomas P. 



Atkinson, Pte. Joseph. 
Atkinson, Pte. Robert C. 
Atwood, Pte. Clayton. 
Auld, Pte. Alexander. 
Ayre, Pte. William. 

Babin, Pte. Joseph. 
Bailey, Pte. Hugh R. 
Bailey, Lance-Corp. J. William. 
Bailey, Pte. Joseph. 
Baker, Pte. Elvy. 
Baker, Pte. Ernest M. 
Baker, Pte. Joseph A. 
Baker, Pte. William A. 
Ball, Pte. Arthur. 
Ballard, Pte. Alfred. 
Barker, Pte. Thomas H. 
Baron, Pte. Oswald. 
Barry, Pte. John. 
Bartholomew, Corp. Arthur. 
Barton, Pte. Frederick W. 
Barton, Pte. Oliver. 
Bartrum, Pte. Glen A. 
Batchelor, Pte. John W. 
Batten, Pte. William R. 
Baxter, Pte. Robert G. 
Bayliss, Corp. Harold. 
Beaconsfield, Lance-Corp. James. 
Beard, Pte. James. 
Bell, Pte. Robert B. 
Bellamy, Sergt. William O. 
Bennett, Pte. George R. 
Bennett, Pte. Joseph A. 
Bennett, Pte. Sam. 
Bennett, Pte. Stanley. 
Bennett, Capt. William H. D. 
Benson, Pte. Lester. 
Bentley, Sergt. George M. 



[323] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 



Besner, Pte. Avila. 
Best, Pte. Thomas. 
Bethune, Pte. George B. 
Bettinson, Pte. Howard W. 
Beveridge, Pte. Robert. 
Bingham, Pte. Fred. 
Binkley, Pte Allan. 
Bird, Pte. Thomas. 
Birks, Pte. Harry. 
Bishop, Pte. Charles. 
Black, Pte. Walter C. 
Blain, Pte. John. 
Blanchard, Pte. Avariste. 
Blevins, Pte. John. 
Blount, Pte. James. 
Boland, Pte. George. 
Boland, Pte. S. 
Bond, Pte. John. 
Boston, Pte. Thomas. 
Boulich, Corp. Anthony. 
Bourret, Pte. Thomas. 
Bowden, Pte. Jehu. 
Bowes, Pte. Edgar A. 
Bowie, Pte. John. 
Brearley, Pte. Norman O. 
Breen, Pte. Joseph. 
Brennan, Pte. Andrew. 
Brierley, Pte. Philip J. 
Brittan, Lieut. Stanley V. 
Britton, Corp. Sidney. 
Brodie, Pte. Peter. 
Brogden, Pte. Fred. 
Brooks, Pte. Miles H. 
Brown, Pte. Albert. 
Brown, Pte. Carl R. 
Brown, Corp. Charles A. 
Brown, Sergt. Daniel McN. 
Brown, Pte. Gerald C. 
Brown, Pte. James. 
Brown, Lance-Corp. John. 
Brown, Pte. John H. 
Brown, Pte. Robert H. 
Brown, Pte. William. 
Bryan, Pte. James E. 
Bryanton, Pte. Harry. 
Bryson, Lieut. Elmer C. 
Buchan, Pte. Thomas. 
Buchanan, Pte. Alexander. 



Buchanan, Pte. Duncan M. 
Buchanan, Capt. Fitz-Herbert Price. 
Buchanan, Lieut.-Col. Victor C., 

D.S.O. 

Buchanan, Lance-Sergt. William E. 
Buckley, Pte. James. 
Bulger, Pte. Louis. 
Bullock, Pte. Henry. 
Bundy, Sergt. Walter J. 
Burke, Pte. John. 
Burritt, Pte. Edgar M. 
Burrows, Pte. Joseph. 
Burt, Sergt. Frank. 
Buswell, Pte. Sydney E. 
Butcher, Pte. James F. 
Byars, Sergt. Henry. 

Cahill, Pte. Jerome. 
Caine, Pte. Carstairs. 
Cameron, Pte. Harry W. 
Cameron, Pte. John. 
Cameron, Pte. William J. 
Camm, Sergt. C. H., M .M. & Bar. 
Campbell, Pte. David. 
Campbell, Pte. David M. 
Campbell, Pte. Douglass. 
Campbell, Corp. James J. 
Campbell, Pte. John. 
Campbell, Pte. Thomas J. 
Cann, Pte. Gordon B. 
Carley, Pte. John. 
Carmichael, Lieut. Kenneth M. 
Carrick, Sergt. Robert L. 
Carroll, Pte. J. 
Carroll, Pte. James. 
Carruthers, Pte. John. 
Caryer, Sergt. William E. S. 
Casey, Pte. Francis J. 
Caslake, Sergt. Alfred J. 
Catford, Pte. Arthur E. 
Chaisson, Pte. Joseph S. 
Charles, Pte. Edward A. 
Cheesman, Pte. Walter. 
Cherry, Pte. Francis S. 
Childs, Pte. Henry. 
Christie, Pte. William. 
Christie, Lieut. W. D. C., D.S.O. 
Christman, Pte. Ernest. 



I 324 ] 



HONOUR ROLL 



Clarendon, Pte. Alvin, M.M. 
Claridge, Pte. George. 
Clark, Pte. Charles B. 
Clark, Pte. George. 
Clark, Pte. William G. 
Clarke, Pte. Harold G. 
Clarke, Pte. Milton O. 
Clarke, Pte. Phillip J. 
Clarke, Pte. Stanley H. 
Clarke, Pte. Stanley J. 
Clarke, Pte. Walter. 
Claxton, Pte. Charles A. 
Clee, Pte. Charles E. 
Clitheroe, Pte. Walter. 
Clive, Pte. William. 
Cluness, Corp. John M. 
Cobb, Pte. Frederick A. 
Coekburn, Sergt. John W. 
Coldwell, Pte. Francis S. 
Coldwell, Pte. James B. 
Cole, Pte. Jack E. 
Collier, Pte. Eli F. 
Collings, Pte. William. 
Collins, Corp. Frank. 
Conn, Pte. George D. 
Connack, Pte. John J. 
Connell, Lance-Sergt. Robert. 
Cook, Pte. John R. 
Cooke, Pte. Thomas C. 
Cooper, Sergt. Henry. 
Copeman, Sergt. Henry. 
Cory, Sergt. John C. 
Cossina, Pte. Thomas. 
Cossman, Pte. Charles. 
Cotton, Pte. Walter J. 
Cottrell, Pte. William. 
Coulombe, Pte. Arthur. 
Courchaine, Pte. Oscar. 
Coutts, Pte. James G. 
Cowan, Corp. George T., M.M. 
Cowling, Pte. Herbert. 
Cox, Lance-Corp. Edward J. 
Coyle, Pte. Patrick. 
Coyston, Sergt. Robert H. 
Craig, Pte. George L. 
Craig, Lance-Sergt. James. 
Craig, Pte. Stewart. 
Crampsey, Pte. Patrick. 



Crane, Pte. James E. 
Crate, Pte. Louis. 
Crawford, Pte. Leo. 
Crawford, Pte. Michael D. 
Creighton, Lieut. Ernest. 
Crichton, Pte. George. 
Croak, Pte. John B., V.C. 
Crocket, Pte. Walter P. 
Cronk, Pte. Bruce P. 
Crowdy, Capt. C. Hutton. 
Crowe, Sergt. Alfred E. 
Crowe, Corp. Amos V. 
Crowe, Pte. George. 
Cryer, Pte. John E. 
Culfeather, Pte. Thomas. 
Cunningham, Pte. A. 
Cunningham, Pte. Bernard. 
Cunningham, Pte. Elezar. 
Cunningham, Pte. Herbert. 
Cunningham, Corp. Lome E. 
Currie, Pte. J. 
Currie, Pte. James. 
Curwen, Sergt. Francis G. 
Cuthbert, Pte. George. 
Cyr, Pte. George. 

Dale, Pte. Sydney. 
Band, Pte. Matthew G. 
Davidson, Pte. Emanuel. 
Davidson, Pte. James. 
Davies, Pte. Harold L. 
Davis, Pte. George. 
Davis, Pte. Orville C. 
Dawe, Pte. Samuel. 
Day, Sergt. Allan W. 
Day, Pte. William M. 
Daynes, Pte. Duncan. 
DeCoste, Pte. Archie N. 
Delbrouck, Pte. Gaston. 
Denbow, Pte. John C. 
Dennis, Pte. Fred B. 
Dent, Pte. James W. 
DeQuetteville, Lance-Sergt. A. P. 
Derrick, Pte. Arthur T. W. 
Desrochers, Pte. Henri B. 
Devalley, Pte. John. 
Deveaux, Pte. John P. 
Dewhurst, Pte. Lancelot. 



[325] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 



Dick, Pte. Peter. 
Dickson, Pte. Alfred J. 
Dixon, Pte. William J. 
Divers, Pte. Walter H. 
Docherty, Lance-Corp. Harry. 
Doherty, Pte. William J. 
Domingue, Pte. Arthur. 
Donaldson, Pte. A. 
Dondale, Pte. Karl. 
Donohue, Pte. Edward. 
Donovan, Pte. Thomas M. 
Donoven, Pte. James. 
Dorey, Pte. Ottis A. 
Doyle, Pte. Lome. 
Drader, Pte. Samuel. 
Drinkall, Lance-Corp. George A. 
Drummond, Capt. Guy M. 
Duff, Lance- Sergt. John. 
Duffy, Pte. Stewart R. 
Dumas, Pte. Arthur. 
Dunbar, Pte. Alexander F. 
Dunbar, Pte. Charles. 
Duncan, Pte. David. 
Duncan, Pte. James. 
Duncan, Pte. Joseph. 
Dunlop, Pte. James. 
Dunlop, Sergt. Matthew B. 
Dunmore, Sergt. G., M.M. 
Dunn, Pte. Henry A. 
Dunning, Pte. John C. 
Dunphy, Pte. William. 
Dupre, Pte. Thomas. 
Dustan, Pte. Edward. 

Eadle, Pte. George W. 

Edgar, Pte. George. 

Edge, Sergt. Albert. 

Edge, Pte. A. 

Edge, Corp. Frederick C. 

Edwards, Lance-Corp. Andrew D. 

Edwards, Pte. John. 

Edwards, Pte. Stanley W. 

Edwards, Lance-Corp. William H. 

Element, Pte. George. 

Ellis, Lance-Corp. William H. 

Ellsworth, Pte. Ernest. 

Elston, Pte. Eldon, M.M. 

Emerson, Lance-Corp. Phillip S. 



Ensor, Pte. William H. 
Erickson, Lance-Corp. Gustaf. 
Etheridge, Lance-Corp. Alfred. 
Evans, C. S. M. Edwin, D.C.M. 
Evans, Pte. William (No. 127186). 
Evans, Pte. William (No. 193439) 
Ewart, Pte. William. 
Ewing, Pte. Robert. 

Fairley, Pte. Thomas. 
Fairley, Pte. William F. 
Fancourt, Corp. Alfred G. 
Ferguson, Pte. Daniel. 
Ferguson, Pte. Donald A. 
Ferguson, Pte. Duncan. 
Ferguson, Corp. Duncan J. 
Ferguson, Pte. Gordon E. 
Ferguson, Pte. Leo, M.M. 
Ferri, Pte. Angelo. 
Fifield, Pte. Malcolm G. 
Finch, Sergt. Herbert A. 
Findlay, Pte. James B. 
Finlayson, Pte. Robert M. 
Finn, Pte. Daniel. 
Fish, Pte. Charles F. H. 
Fisher, Lance-Corp. Fred, V.C. 
Fisher, Corp. George. 
Fisher, Pte. Walter. 
Fitzgerald, Pte. John R. 
Fitzpatrick, Sergt. Jack. 
Fitzpatrick, Pte. Thomas. 
Fitzpatrick, Pte. William H. 
Flavelle, Pte. George B. 
Flynn, Pte. Owen F. 
Fogarty, Pte. Howard. 
Forgie, Pte. Hugh. 
Forsyth, Pte. William. 
Fortier, Pte. Nelson. 
Foster, Pte. Alexander R. 
Foster, Pte. George S. 
Fowler, Pte. Gordon. 
Fowler, Pte. James. 
Fox, Pte. Melfort F. J. 
Frame, Pte. William H. 
Eraser, Pte. John B. 
Fraser, Pte. Lachlan. 
Fraser, Pte. Newton. 
Freeman, Pte. Alexander. 



[ 326 ] 



HONOUR ROLL 



Freeman, Pte. Fred G. 
French, Pte. Harry. 
Furlong, Pte. James F. 

Gaitens, Pte. Rae C. 
Gardner, Lance-Corp. Jack. 
Garrett, Pte. John. 
Geal, Lance-Corp. John A. 
Geekie, Pte. Stewart. 
Gibb, Pte. George. 
Gibbs, Pte. George H. 
Gibson, Pte. George. 
Gibson, Pte. James A. 
Giles, Pte. James H. 
Gill, Pte. George. 
Gill, Sergt. Lome S. 
Gillibanks, Pte. Jonathan R. 
Gillis, Pte. Gabriel. 
Gillis, Pte. Hector J. 
Gillis, Pte. Peter. 
Gillooly, Pte. Charles H. 
Gilroy, Major Sidney W. 
Ginn, Pte. Charles. 
Giveen, Lieut. Butler. 
Glad, Pte. Konghard. 
Glover, Pte. Francis. 
Gooch, Pte. Thomas. 
Good, Pte. Ernest. 
Goodman, Pte. Richard. 
Goodwillie, Corp. Charles A. 
Goodwin, Pte. Alonzo. 
Goodwin, Sergt. Thomas A. 
Gordon, Pte. Alexander G. 
Gordon, Pte. Joseph. 
Gordon, Pte. Thomas E. 
Gotell, Pte. Thomas. 
Gowans, Pte. Stephen. 
Gracey, Lance-Corp. William. 
Gracey, Pte. William J. 
Graham, Corp. John. 
Graham, Pte. J. K. 
Graham, Sergt. Thomas, M.M. 
Graham, Pte. William H. 
Grahamslaw, Pte. William. 
Grant, Pte. Jack. 
Gray, Pte. Alfred. 
Gray, Pte. Angus. 
Gray, Pte. Gordon. 

t. . 



Gray, Corp. Hugh. 
Gray, Corp. William S. 
Grech, Lance-Corp. Robert. 
Green, Capt. Carleton C. 
Green, Pte. Hugh A. 
Green, Pte. Walter W. 
Green, Pte. William. 
Greenshields, Capt. Melville. 
Greenwood, Pte. Thomas. 
Gregory, Pte. Ernest E. 
Gregson, Pte. James C. 
Grey, Lieut. John. 
Grieve, Lieut. David C. 
Gummels, Pte. George. 
Gunn, Pte. Daniel. 

Hachey, Pte. George H. 
Hadfield, Pte. Thomas. 
Haffenden, Pte. Arthur J. F. 
Hains, Pte. David A. 
Halifax, Pte. Reuben. 
Haley, Sergt. Edward S. 
Hall, Pte. Alfred. 
Hall, Pte. Frederick. 
Hall, Pte. Robert D. 
Halls, Pte. Frederick C. 
Hamilton, Pte. Alexander J. 
Hamilton, Lieut. George H. 
Hamilton, Pte. Morgan H. C. 
Handcock, Pte. Donald K. 

Hanley, Corp. William P. 

Hanlon, Pte. Clarence A. 

Hannaford, Sergt. Wm., D.C.M., 
M.M. (Bar). 

Hannah, Pte. David. 

Hannan, Pte. John. 

Hape, Pte. William K. 

Hardie, Pte. James. 

Harding, Pte. Augustus V. 

Hardman, Pte. Herbert. 

Harkness, Pte. Thomas L. 

Harland, Pte. George. 

Harpell, Pte. Herbert H. 

Harper, Pte. Ernest E. 

Harrington, Pte. Archibald. 

Harris, Pte. Alexander. 

Harris, Pte. Cecil. 

Harris, Pte. Charles E. 



[327] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 



Harris, Pte. Edward. 
Harris, Corp. Thomas. 
Harris, Pte. Thomas. 
Harrop, Pte. Albert E. 
Harvey, Pte. Henry C. 
Hawkings, Pte. William C. 
Hawkins, Pte. Percy E. 
Hawley, Pte. Carlton B. 
Hayward, Pte. Stanley A. 
Hazard, Pte. Albert. 
Healey, Pte. Harold. 
Heatherington, Pte. George R. 
Henderson, Pte. Cyril. 
Henderson, Pte. Ivan. 
Henderson, Pte. James H. 
Henrich, Pte. Louis. 
Herbert, Pte. James. 
_Herlihy, Pte. Thomas. 
Herring, Pte. Reginald F. 
Hervey, Pte. Bernard. 
Hewitt, Pte. George. 
Hewitt, Pte. James. 
Hicken, Pte. Edward A. 
Hicken, Pte. Stewart. 
Hickey, Pte. Samuel. 
Hickey, Pte. William L. 
Hicks, Pte. Winford C. 
Hill, Pte. Arthur. 
Hill, Sergt. Edgar H. 
Hill, Pte. George. 
Hill, Pte. John. 

Hill, Lance-Corp. Ruby Charles. 
Hinton, Pte. George H. 
Hirst, Pte. John. 
Hodgkins, Pte. Percy. 
Hodgson, Pte. Herbert. 
Hodgson, Pte. Samuel P. 
Hodgson, Pte. Thomas. 
Hollanby, Pte. Albert E. 
Holland, Pte. Frederick C. V. 
Hollands, Pte. John. 
Hollings, Pte. Arthur. 
Hooper, Pte. Bertie. 
Home, Pte. Colin H. 
Horsey, Lieut. Clifford M. 
Horton, Pte. Roy C. 
Howe, Pte. Robert. 
Howell, Pte. Frederick. 



Hownslow, Pte. Albert. 
Hudson, Pte. John. 
Hughes, Corp. Thomas. 
Hull, Lance-Corp. Wilfred. 
Hunt, Pte. Henry G. 
Hunt, Pte. Louis. 
Hurlburt, Pte. David. 
Hurshman, Pte. John. 
Hutchings, Pte. Harold. 
Hutchinson, Pte. Walter H. 
Hyde, Lieut. Charles E. 
Hyndman, Pte. William. 

Imrie, Sergt. George W. 
Imrie, Pte. James W. 
Innes, Pte. Thomas. 
Irons, Pte. Samuel. 
Irvine, Pte. Robert. 
Isaacs, Pte. Ernest W. 

Jackson, Pte. Harry A. 
Jackson, Pte. William T. 
James, Pte. Harry. 
James, Pte. James D. S. 
Jaques, Lieut. Maurice A. 
Jarrett, Sergt. Edward H. 
Jeffery, Pte. Thomas. 
Jewers, Pte. Ira Wallace. 
Johnson, Pte. Desmond. 
Johnson, Pte. M. 
Johnston, Lance-Corp. Archibald. 
Johnston, Corp. Charles. 
Johnston, Pte. Raymond C. 
Jolicoeur, Sergt. Ernest E. 
Jones, Pte. George. 
Jones, Pte. Noel E. 
Jones, Pte. Norman. 
Jones, Pte. William. 
Joyce, Pte. John J. 

Kealey, Pte. Chauncey. 
Keeley, Corp. Kenneth. 
Kellett, Pte. James H. 
Kelly, Pte. Patrick. 
Kendall, Pte. Arthur H. 
Kenna, Pte. Robert. 
Kent, Lance- Sergt. George E. 
Key, Sergt. Robert. 



[ 328 ] 



HONOUR ROLL 



Key, Pte. William J. 
Kidd, Pte. William. 
Kilrea, Pte. Robert. 
King, Pte. David. 
King, Pte. Frank. 
Kirk, Pte. George P. 
Kitchin, Pte. Benjamin. 
Knapp, Pte. Benjamin M. 
Knight, Corp. Herbert J. 
Knights, Lance-Corp. Albert. 
Krenchel, Lieut. Otto B., M.C., 

D.C.M. 
Krumsei, Pte. Fred. 

Lacey, Pte. Frank. 
Lagarde, Pte. Joseph O. 
Lambe, Pte. John W. 
Lancaster, Sergt. James L. 
Landry, Pte. Evariste. 
Landry, Pte. Harvey. 
Lang, Corp. Thomas. 
Larin, Pte. Charles. 
Laughlin, Pte. Fred A. 
Lavery, Pte. Robert. 
Lawson, Sergt. John. 
Lawson, Pte. William. 
Lawson, Pte. William A. 
Layer, Pte. William. 
Leadbetter, Pte. Robert. 
Leary, Pte. Walter. 
Leatham, Pte. John S. 
Leavitt, Pte. Arthur. 
Lee, Pte. Thomas W. 
Lees, Capt. Gerald O. 
Leger, Pte. Jules. 
Legros, C. S. M. Charles, M.M . 
Lenener, Pte. John P. 
Lennon, Pte. Christopher. 
Leonard, Pte. George T. 
Lepine, Pte. Alexander. 
Lewis, Pte. Arthur N. 
Lightbody, Pte. Norman. 
Lightizer, Pte. John L. 
Lindh, Corp. Bertie A. 
Lindsay, Pte. Franklin E. 
Ling, Pte. Lawrence. 
Ling, Pte. Roy. 
Linnell, Pte. Joseph. 



Linton, Pte. Harold. 
Livingstone, Sergt. George. 
Lloyd, Pte. Osman E. B. 
Llwyd, Capt. Charles D., M.C. 
Lockley, Pte. David. 
Love, Pte. John. 
Lowe, Lance-Corp. Robert. 
Lowery, Pte. Ernest M. 
Lunn, Pte. Walter F. 
Lynch, Pte. John J. 

MacDermot, Major A. G. C. 
MacDonald, Pte. Arthur. 
MacDonald, Pte. Charles S. 
MacDonald, Pte. Kenneth N. 
Macdonald, Pte. Neil W. 
MacDonald, Pte. Richard F. 
MacDougall, Pte. Harold V. 
MacGillivray, Pte. Grant. 
Macintosh, Pte. William H. 
Maclvor, Pte. Murdie. 
MacKay, Pte. Harry J. 
MacKay, Sergt. John. 
M acKenzie, Pte. Charles R. 
MacKinnon, Pte. Daniel. 
MacLean, Lieut. Arthur S. 
MacLean, Capt. Norman M. 
MacLean, Lance-Corp. William S. 
MacLucas, Lance-Corp. Kenneth. 
MacNamee, Lance-Corp. William H. 
MacNeil, Lance-Corp. Donald J. 
Macey, Pte. Sylvester J. 
Mack, Pte. Frank. 
Mackman, Pte. George H. 
M agee, Pte. Frank W. 
Maguire, Pte. John R. 
Malone, Pte. John J. 
Maloney, Lance-Corp. Michael. 
Manning, Corp. Leonard. 
Mantell, Pte. Amos R. 
Marceau, Pte. George H. 
Marriott, Sergt. Fred. 
Marshall, Pte. Harold. 
Marshall, Pte. Joseph H. 
Marshall, Pte. William D. 
Martin, Pte. David G. 
Martin, Pte. John C. 
Martin, Pte. William. 



[329] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 



Masse, Pte. Dieudonne. 
Massie, Pte. Charles P. 
Matheson, Pte. John A. 
Matthews, Pte. Frederick J. 
Mayhew, Pte. Arthur. 
Mays, Pte. Frank. 
M eades, Sergt. Henry M. 
Medcroft, Pte. Thomas. 
Megan, Lieut. Gerald W. 
Meikle, Pte. William. 
Meister, Corp. Otis. 
Mellowes, Pte. William O. 
Melluish, Pte. William A. 
Meredith, Pte. Arthur R. 
Meredith, Pte. Herbert R. B. 
Michelmore, Pte. Francis H. 
Mileham, Pte. William. 
Millar, Sergt. George. 
Miller, Lance-Corp. Albert. 
Miller, Pte. Andrew. 
Miller, Pte. John. 
Miller, Pte. Wilson. 
Milligan, Pte. Alexander. 
Milne, Lance-Corp. John. 
Milne, Pte. Kenneth. 
Milne, Pte. Lewis G. 
Mills, Pte. Thomas E. 
Mitchell, Pte. John. 
Mitchell Pte. John G. 

Moffitt, Pte. John A. 

Monk, Pte. Joseph. 

Montanelli, Pte. John. 

Mooney, Pte. Albert. 

M oore, Pte. Allan. 

Moore, Pte. Harold. 

Moore, Pte. Marshall B. 

Morby, Pte. Arthur. 

Morgan, Sergt. Fred B. 

Morgan, Pte. Thomas A. 

Morphy, Lieut. John M. 

Morris, Corp. George W. 

Morrison, Pte. Elex. 

Morrison, Pte. George. 

Morrison, Sergt. William. 

Moss, Pte. Edward C. 

Mott, Pte. Hubert B. 

Muir, Pte. William. 

Munro, Pte. Stanley. 



Munroe, Pte. Arthur J. 
Murney, Lance-Corp. Henry J. 
Murphy, Pte. James G. 
Myler, Pte. Matthew. 
McAfee, Pte. John S. 
McAllister, Pte. Frederick. 
McAlpine, Pte. David L. 
McArthur, John. 
McArthur, Pte. Arthur. 
McBurnie, Pte. Robert. 
McCabe, Pte. Grover C. 
McCahon, Pte. Charles P. 
McCahon, Pte. George. 
McCallum, Pte. James. 
M cCance, Pte. John. 
McCarter, Pte. Andrew R. 
McCarthy, Pte. John. 
McCleave, Lieut. Harry A. 
McCluskey, Pte. Clarence. 
McConachie, Lance-Corp. John A. 
McConachie, Pte. Raymond H. 
McCormack, Pte. Frank. 
McCormack, Pte. Joseph M. 
McCormick, Pte. Douglas L. 
McCormick, Pte. Hugh. 
McCully, Pte. Fred A. 
McDaniel, Pte. Joseph H. 
McDonald, Pte. Alexander J., M.M. 
McDonald, Pte. Alexander J. 
McDonald, Pte. Archie. 
McDonald, Pte. Elmer. 
McDonald, Pte. George. 
McDonald, Pte. John. 
McDonald, Pte. Lewis J. 
McDonald, Pte. Robert Alvin. 
McDonald, Pte. Ronald J. 
McDonald, Pte. William J. 
McDonald, Lance-Corp. William M. 
McDonnell, Pte. Edward. 
McDougall, Pte. Arthur P. 
McDougall, Pte. Harry O. 
McEachern, Pte. Andrew J. 
McFarlane, Corp. Hugh. 
McGibbon, Capt. Gilbert D. 
M cGillivary, Pte. Stephen. 
McGrath, Pte. William J. 
McGregor, Pte. William. 
McGuffin, Pte. William J. 



[330] 



HONOUR ROLL 



Mclntosh, Pte. Isaac. 
Mclntyre, Pte. Peter. 
MicKay, Pte. John B. 
McKellar, Pte. Thomas B. 
McKenzie, Sergt. Alex., M.M. 
McKenzie, Pte. Andrew. 
McKenzie, Pte. Dan. 
McKim, Pte. William. 
McKinnon, Pte. Peter. 
McLaren, Pte. Duncan. 
McLaren, Pte. Gordon S. 
McLaughlin, Pte. William. 
M cLaurin, Pte. Douglas C. 
McLean, Pte. James A. 
McLellan, Pte. J. 
McLellan, Pte. James. 
McLeod, Sergt. Alex., D.C.M. 
McLeod, Pte. David R. 
McLeod, Sergt. Peter. 
McLeod, Pte. Stanley S. 
McLeod, Pte. Wallace C. 
McLeod, Lance-Corp. William. 
McLonney, Pte. William. 
McMorran, Pte. Aldron W. 
McNab, Pte. John. 
M cNair, Pte. Robert H. 
McNaught, Sergt. John. 
McNaughton, Sergt. Harold. 
McNeil, Corp. Murdoch A. 
McNeil, Pte. Joseph. 
McNicol, Pte. Alexander C. 
McPhee, Pte. Archibald N. 
McPhee, Pte. James B. 
McPhee, Pte. Joseph. 
McPherson, Pte. John. 
McQuade, Pte. James P. 

Nash, Pte. Ernest. 
Nason, Lieut. Alexis P. 
Negus, Pte. Thomas L. 
Neil, Sergt. William C. 
Newitt, Pte. William. 
Newnham, Sergt. Thomas C., M.M. 
Nimmo, Sergt. Robert C. 
Nolan, Pte. Michael. 
Norberg, Pte. Fabian. 
Norsworthy, Major Edward C. 
Nother, Pte. George. 



O Connor, Pte. John M. J. 
O Donnell, Pte. Bert. 
O Leary, Pte. Harvey. 
O Leary, Corp. Pat. 
Oliver, Sergt. Arthur. 
Oliver, Pte. George. 
Olsen, Pte. Frank T. 
Onslow, Pte. Harry V. 
Osborne, Pte. John W. 
Osborne, Pte. William A. 
O Toole, Pte. James M. 
Overson, Pte. James V. S. 
Oxley, Pte. William. 

Packer, Pte. Richard. 

Page, Pte. Sydney. 

Palmer, Pte. John J. 

Parker, Pte. George K. 

Parsons, Pte. George H. 

Parsons, Pte. Walter H. 

Partridge, Corp. Fred. 

Pass, Pte. George. 

Payne, Lance-Corp. Robert. 

Peacock, Lance-Corp. Charles J. W 

Pearce, Pte. Charles R. 

Pearson, Pte. John. 

Peffer, Pte. Norman E. 

Pegram, Pte. Michael. 

Pentland, Pte. William A. 

Perigo, Pte. Ira S. 

Perley, Pte. Arthur. 

Peterkin, Pte. Thomas E. C. 

Peterman, Major Wilfred F. 

Peterson, Pte. William A. 

Petrie, Sergt. Alexander, M.M 

Phillip, Pte. William C. 

Phillips, Sergt. Ernest. 

Phillips, Pte. John D. 

Phillips, Pte. Robert. 

Piche, Lance-Sergt. James H. 

Piche, Pte. Randolph. 

Piercy, Lieut. Harold E. 

Pigeon, Pte. Georges. 

Pilot, Pte. John. 

Pitcher, Pte. Alexander. 

Pitt, Pte. Edward H. 

Plante, Pte. Albert H. 

Pollock, Pte. Alexander A. 



[331] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 



Poole, Corp. Robert J. M. 
Porritt, Pte. John M. 
Porter, Corp. James R. 
Porter, Pte. Percy R. 
Povey, Pte. Joseph. 
Powell, Lieut. Haynes R. 
Powley, Pte. James W. 
Pratt, Pte. Charles H. 
Pratt, Pte. Norman. 
Pratt, Pte. Thomas G. 
Fraught, Pte. Dennis P. 
Priaulx, Pte. Alfred. 
Price, Pte. Frederick. 
Price, Pte. Hugh M. 
Price, Pte. Samuel. 
Price, Pte. Thomas H. 
Proctor, Pte. Athol S. 
Prosser, Lieut. Arthur D. 
Pyper, Pte. John. 

Rae, Sergt. Wesley C. 
Rafuse, Pte. Willis. 
Rainey, Pte. Edmund. 
Raynes, Pte. Harry. 
Reaume, Lieut. J. Stanley. 
Reay, Pte. James. 
Redhead, C. S. M. George. 
Reekie, Pte. John G. 
Reeve, Sergt. Robert. 
Reeves, Pte. Joe. 
Reid, Pte. Robert S. 
Reid, Pte. Wilfred. 
Reilly, Pte. William H. L. 
Reynolds, Pte. Frederick G. 
Rice, Lance-Corp. Arthur G. 
Rice, Pte. Jerome. 
Richardson, Pte. Albert E. 
Richley, Pte. Charlton. 
Richmond, Pte. Gavin S. 
Rigby, Pte. Fred. 
Riley, Pte. George. 
Riley, Pte. Roy N. 
Ritchie, Corp. George. 
Roberts, Pte. Verne D. 
Robertson, Pte. Donald A. 
Robertson, Pte. George. 
Robertson, Pte. Hay. 
Robertson, Pte. John W. 



Robertson, Pte. Thomas H. 
Robinson, Pte. Charles H. 
Robinson, Pte. William. 
Robson, Sergt. Henry. 
Roche, Lieut. Charles J. 
Rodgers, Pte. George T. 
Rogers, Pte. James S. 
Rogers, Pte. Robert. 
Rogerson, Pte. Richard G. 
Rose, Pte. Gordon S. 
Ross, Pte. Archibald. 
Ross, Pte. David. 
Ross, Pte. Robert J. 
Roszel, Pte. George. 
Rourke, Pte. James P. 
Rowbottom, Sergt. James. 
Rowley, Sergt. John. 
Russell, Pte. David M. 
Rust, Capt. Benjamin Henry. 
Ryan, Pte. Charles. 
Ryan, Pte. Francis B. 
Ryan, Pte. Henry E. 
Ryan, Pte. William J. 
Ryan, Pte. William P. 

Sacritch, Pte. Alexander. 

Saclowinski, Pte. Victor. 

Sale, Lieut. Gordon N. 

Salmon, Sergt. Donald. 

Sandford, C. S. M. Richard, M.M. 

Saunders, Lieut. T. B. 

Saunders, Pte. Thomas. 

Saville, Pte. George. 

Schofield, Pte. Ralph E. 

Sclater, Lieut. Arthur X., M.C. 

Scott, Pte. George N. 

Scott, Sergt. Samuel. 

Scott, Sergt. W. Grahame. 

Scott, Pte. William. 

Seagram, Pte. John J., M.M. 

Seed, Pte. James. 

Seivewright, Pte. Henry, M.M. 

Selbie, Lieut. Robert J. 

Senior, Pte. Walter. 

Shannon, Pte. Joseph. 

Sharp, Pte. George B. 

Sharpe, Pte. Ernest. 

Shaughnessy, Sergt. Harold W. 



[332] 



HONOUR ROLL 



Shaw, Pte. Edward B. 

Shaw, Pte. James. 

Shaw, Pte. John. 

Shaw, Pte. John H. 

Sheehan, Pte. John P. 

Shephard, Pte. Wilfred. 

Shepherd, Pte. John. 

Shepherd, Pte. William R. 

Sherwood, Pte. Richard. 

Shiell, Pte. John C. 

Showman, Pte. Frank F. 

Sillitoe, Pte. Arthur. 

Simpson, Sergt. James. 

Simoneau, Pte. Wilfred J. 

Sinclair, Lance-Sergt. Daniel G. 

Sinclair, Pte. Donald. 

Skeen, Pte. Oswald. 

Skuce, Pte. Richard. 

Slaven, Pte. Peter. 

Sloan, Pte. William. 

Sloman, Pte. Herbert. 

Small, Corp. William D. 

Smile, Pte. Ernest. 

Smillie, Pte. William. 

Smith, Pte. Albert F. 

Smith, Pte. Beverly A. 

Smith, Major Charles John. 

Smith, Pte. Ernest. 

Smith, Pte. Frederick. 

Smith, Pte. Howard. 

Smith, Pte. James M. 

Smith, Lieut. Jeffrey F. 

Smith, Pte. J. (No. 414245). 

Smith, Pte. John. 

Smith, Pte. John W. 

Smith, Pte. Stewart. 

Snapp, Pte. Simon P. 

Sorby, Sergt. Frederick W. D., 

D.C.M., (Bar). 
Southgate, Pte. Lewis M. 
Spain, Pte. Henry. 
Spencer, Pte. Kenneth. 
Spendley, Pte. Arthur. 
Spicer, Pte. Russell A. 
Splatt, Lance-Corp. William F. 
Sprowl, Pte. Perry. 
Stamm, Pte. Joseph. 
Stansfield, Pte. Israel. 



Stark, Sergt. Percival H. 
Stedman, Pte. William H. 
Stephen, Pte. John L. 
Stewart, Pte. Francis. 
Stewart, Pte. Norman C. 
Stewart, Pte. Sefton I. 
Stewart, Lieut. William. 
Stirling, Pte. David S. 
Stokes, Lance-Corp. Leslie T. 
Stracey, Pte. Harold. 
Stratford, Pte. Jesse J. 
Street, Pte. Richard H. 
Stroud, Pte. Richard S. 
Strudwick, Lance-Corp. Reginald. 
Stuart, Pte. John. 
Styles, Pte. Albert G. 
Sutherland, Pte. Edgar W. 
Sutherland, Lance-Corp. Murray C. 
Sutliff, Pte. Neil. 
Sweetman, Pte. Carl. 

Tait, Pte. John W. 
Tait, Pte. Robert A. 
Tanner, Pte. Norman J. 
Taylor, Lance-Corp. Charles M. 
Taylor, Pte. Sydney J. 
Taylor, Corp. Richard B. 
Taylor, Pte. William E. 
Teffer, Corp. Frederick G. 
Thomas, Lance-Sergt. Henry. 
Thompson, Pte. Engulf. 
Thompson, Pte. Ernest. 
Thompson, Corp. Fred. 
Thompson, Pte. James T. 
Thompson, Pte. Lawrence J. 
Thomson, Sergt. John H. 
Thomson, Pte. Walter. 
Thuot, Pte. Eugene. 
Tickell, Pte. Isaac. 
Toghill, Pte. William T. 
Tomlinson, Pte. Ernest. 
Tower, Pte. Leonard B. 
Towns, Pte. Fred. 
Townsend, Sergt. Frank. 
Traill, Sergt. Allan D., M.M. 
Travers, Lance-Corp. John F. 
Trott, Pte. Harry. 
Trudel, Pte. Arthur. 



[333] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 



Tuckfield, Pte. Francis E. 
Twambley, Pte. John B. 

Usher, Lance-Corp. Henry. 
Ussher, Pte. Robert L. 

Valins, Pte. Salem. 
Valiquette, Pte. James F. 
Vernon, Pte. Oscar D. 
Viens, Pte. Arsene. 
Vigers, Pte. Frederick. 
Vinson, Pte. George J. 

Waddicor, Pte. John M. 
Wagner, Pte. Bernard G. 
Waite, Pte. George. 
Wakeling, Pte. Harry. 
Walker, Pte. Alexander G. 
Walker, Pte. Henry. 
Walker, Lieut. James G. 
Walker, Pte. John. 
Walker, Pte. Michael F. 
Walker, Pte. Norman. 
Walker, Pte. Sidney. 
Wallace, Pte. James. 
Wallace, Pte. William B. 
Walton, Lance-Corp. Frederick J. 
Ward, Pte. Leonard C. 
Ward, Pte. Percy. 
Ward, Sergt. William, M.M. 
Ward, Corp. William. 
Ward, Pte. William T. 
Warne, Sergt. Owen. 
Warrell, Pte. Stanley C. 
Warren, Pte. Ernest. 
Warren, Pte. Wellington P. 
Watson, C. S. M. Alexander C. 
Watson, Pte. John. 
Watt, Pte. William. 
Watt, Pte. William J. 
Waud, Capt. Edward W. 
Way, Lance-Sergt. Percy, D.C.M. 
Webster, Pte. Austin C. 
Webster, Pte. John M. 
Webster, Pte. Robert L. 
Weightman, Pte. William F. 
Weir, Lance-Corp. William. 



Welch, Pte. Thomas. 
Welsh, Pte. William M. 
Wentzall, Pte. Joseph H. 
Wheaton, Pte. Clarence J. 
White, Pte. John. 
White, Pte. Melvin F. 
Whitehead, Capt. Lionel Ward. 
Whitley, Pte. Charles L. 
Whitman, Pte. Wilfred. 
Whynott, Lance-Corp. Charles S. 
Wigmore, Pte. Joseph A. 
Wilcox, Pte. Harry J. 
Wilkinson, Pte. William. 
Williams, Pte. Harry. 
Williams, Pte. James Arthur. 
Williams, Pte. James W. A. 
Williams, Pte. William J. 
Willis, Pte. Ernest W. 
Willis, Pte. William I. 
Willoughby, Pte. Frank. 
Wilson, Pte. Adam. 
Wilson, Pte. Arthur S. 
Wilson, Pte. George E. 
Wilson, Pte. George F. 
Wilson, Sergt. John. 
Wilson, Lance-Corp. Leslie C. 
Wilson, Lance-Corp. William G. 
Winlow, Pte. Robert S. 
Winspear, Pte. Harry. 
Winters, Pte. Frank H. 
Wise, Pte. Herbert. 
Wragge, Pte. Ayrton. 
Wray, Sergt. Walter H. 
Wright, Pte. Alexander C. 
Wright, Pte. Collin M.B., M.M. 
Wright, Pte. Fred. 
Wright, Sergt. James. 
Wright, Pte. Norman H. 
Wright, Pte. Percy A. 

Yates, Pte. Clement O. 
Yates, Pte. James P. 
Yensen, Pte. Gustav A. 
Young, Pte. George. 
Young, Pte. William. 
Young, Sergt. William J. 

Zinck, Pte. Leo. 



[ 334 1 



HONOUR ROLL 



MISSING. 



Abbott, Corp. Arthur C. 
Armstrong, Pte. William J. 
Aston, Pte. Abraham. 

Ballantyne, Pte. Albert M. 
Beauparlant, Pte. Wilfred, M.M. 
Broughton, Pte. Tom W. 
Buchanan, Pte. Earl L. 
Byrne, Pte. Gerald. 

Calvert, Pte. John C. 
Campbell, Pte. John L. 
Chaters, Pte. John S. 
Chishohn, Pte. Charles. 
Clarke, Pte. Thomas W. 
Clover, Pte. Alfred. 
Collins, Pte. James J. 
Collins, Pte. Joseph. 
Comors, Pte. John. 
Coop, Lance-Corp. Henry. 
Cornwall, Lance-Corp. Charles W. 

Davidson, Pte. Andrew. 
Dickenson, Pte. Edwin. 
Dickson, Pte. Charles. 
Ditrickson, Pte. Henry. 
Dixon, Pte. Herbert. 
Dixon, Pte. Thomas C. 
Dow, Pte. Leslie. 
Duncan, Pte. John. 
Dykes, Pte. Samuel. 

Easson, Pte. John. 
Edgington, Pte. Harry. 
Evans, Pte. William. 

Ferguson, Pte. Archibald. 
Ferguson, Pte. James C. 
Fisher, Pte. Norman. 
Fisher, Pte. William C. 
Fitzgerald, Pte. William. 
Flin, Pte. Frank S. 
Fowlie, Pte. Edward. 
Furlong, Pte. Philip J. 



Gallagher, Pte. John W. 
Gammon, Corp. Earl. 
Gibson, Pte. Lome N. 
Gilchrist, Corp. Thomas G. 
Goodall, Pte. Josiah. 
Goodwin, Pte. James E. 

Hagle, Pte. Macklin. 
Hall, Pte. Joseph. 
Harrison, Pte. John. 
Holmes, Pte. Frank. 
Homewood, Pte. William. 
Hore, Pte. Enos E. 
Howard, Pte. Lewis E. 
Hurst, Pte. Cuthbert J. 

Innes-Brown, Pte. Bernard. 
Isherwood, Pte. Richard. 

Jahn, Pte. Carl M. C. 
Johnson, Pte. Peter. 
Jones, Pte. William J. 

Keay, Lance-Corp. George N. 
Kingston, Pte. Frank. 
Knapman, Pte. Herbert C. 

Latour, Pte. Emile. 
Lecky, Pte. George R. 
Ling, Pte. Thomas. 
Little, Pte. William W. 
Lowry, Pte. William W. 
Lynch, Pte. Martin. 

MacDonald, Pte. Alexander J. 
MacKay, Pte. Stanley. 
MJagee, Pte. Robert J. 
Maltby, Lance-Corp. Charles. 
Mathieson, Pte. William R. 
Manuel, Pte. Jacob. 
Mepham, Pte. Robert. 
Marsh, Lance-Corp. Thomas. 
Miller, Lance-Corp. James A. 
Milne, Pte. James. 
Montgomery, Pte. Robert. 



[335] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 



Moore, Pte. Thomas G. 
Moran, Pte. Edward. 
Morrison, Pte. John M. 
Mortson, Pte. Alex. 
Mount, Pte. George A. 
Murdock, Pte. John A. 
Murphy, Pte. Fred A. 
McCallum, Pte. Ralph A. 
McCulloch, Pte. George M. 
McGrory, Pte. Frank. 
McNeil, Pte. Neil A. 
McNulty, Pte. E. J. 

Norse, Pte. William. 
O Connors, Pte. John. 

Parks, Corp. Stanley. 
Paul, Pte. William. 
Pearce, Pte. Frederick A. 
Petkoff, Pte. Angel. 
Pizzy, Pte. Fred. 
Pratt, Pte. Charles E. 
Purdy, Pte. George. 

Quin, Pte. James E. 

Rowan, Capt. Frederick John. 
Reed, Pte. John J. 



Reid, Lance-Sergt. John L. 
Richards, Pte. Cecil. 
Robinson, Pte. Russell. 
Romney, Pte. William. 

Smith, Corp. Clifford M. 
Smith, Pte. Hughie. 
Smith, Pte. Robert H. 
Stewart, Corp. James L. 
Stewart, Pte. Lawrence D. 

Tait, Pte. John. 
Tait, Pte. Robert. 
Taylor, Pte. Jack. 
Thibodeau, Pte. Lorenzo. 
Thompson, Pte. Archibald. 

Walker, Lieut. Austin H. 
Wall, Pte. Michael J. 
Watt, Pte. James. 
Whetter, Lance-Corp. Richard. 
Whitelock, Pte. Henry. 
Wilson, Pte. David. 
Worsley, Pte. George J. 
Wright, Pte. William. 

Young, Pte. Walter. 



DIED. 



Anning, Pte. Harry. 
Annon, Pte. John F. 
Appleyard, Pte. Albert. 
Armstrong, Pte. Francis. 
Arsenault, Pte. William J. 
Atkinson, Pte. William A. 

Bain, Lieut. John S. 
Barton, Pte. Allan G. 
Bevan, Pte. Owen. 
Black, Pte. William F. 
Boyles, Pte. Ambrose E. 
Butler, Pte. Harry C. 

Cann, Pte. William R. 
Clarke, Pte. Norman F. 



Cooke, S-Sergt. Harry. 
Cranfield, Pte. Noble C. 
Cuthbert, Pte. David. 

Davidson, Pte. Samuel. 
Dunlop, Pte. Daniel L. 

Elliott, Corp. Frederick G. 

Fenn, Pte. Albert S. 
Fergus, Corp. William. 
Ferguson, Pte. Robert. 
Foster, Pte. William H. 
Fournier, Pte. Francois. 



Gardner, Pte. Ernest J. 
Gardner, Pte. William H. 



[336] 



HONOUR ROLL 



Goodyear, Pte. William. 
Graham, Pte. Norman. 
Greens, Pte. William H. 
Guyer, Lance-Corp. David, M.M. 

Haverly, Pte. Herbert S. 
Hueston, Pte. Frank A. 

Jessoe, Pte. James L. 
Johnston, Pte. Duncan. 

Kennedy, Pte. John. 
Laing, Pte. Robert. 

MacKenzie, Pte. Finlay. 
MacNeill, Lance-Corp. Nicolas. 
Martineau, Pte. Paul. 
Murphy, Pte. Joseph. 
McBride, Pte. John. 
M cEwan, Pte. Frank. 
McGuinness, Pte. F. W. 



Mclnally, Pte. Michael. 
McKenzie, Pte. Angus D. 

O Dea, Pte. Andrew. 
Penfold, Pte. John William. 

Racicot, Pte. Theodore. 
Robbins, Pte. Norman. 
Robinson, Pte. Arthur. 

Scott, Pte. James. 
Smith, Pte. Samuel H. 
Stephens, Pte. Wilfred C. 

Taylor, Pte. William T. 
Type, Pte. Augustus. 

Wardle, Sergt. Joe. 
Wilkins, Pte. Charles. 
Winter, Pte. George S. 
West, Pte. Frank. 
Wright, Pte. Charles. 



[337] 



APPENDIX B. 

Honours and Awards 

THE VICTORIA CROSS. 

Lance-Corporal Fred Fisher. 

Lance- Sergeant Herman J. Good. 

Private John B. Croak. 

Lieut-Col. W. H. Clark-Kennedy. (24th Battalion, V.R.C.) 

Lieut. Milton F. Gregg. (Royal Air Force.) 

KNIGHT COMMANDER OF THE BATH. 

Major-General Sir F. O. W. Loomis. 



COMPANION OF THE ORDER OF ST. MICHAEL 
AND ST. GEORGE. 

Major-General Sir F. O. W. Loomis. 

Brigadier-General G. E. McCuaig. 

Lieut-Col. W. H. Clark-Kennedy. (24th Battalion, V.R.C.) 



COMMANDER OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE. 

Lieut-Col. E. R. Brown. (Canadian Army Medical Corps.) 

OFFICER OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE. 

Major John Jeffery. 

Major W. J. Taylor, (Paymaster.) 

MEMBER OF THE ORDER OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE. 

Capt. G. W. R. Simpson. 

THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER AND BAR. 

Major-General Sir F. O. W. Loomis. 

Brigadier-General G. E. McCuaig. 

Lieut.-Col. K. M. Perry. 

Lieut.-Col. W. H. Clark-Kennedy. (24th Battalion, V.R.C.) 

[338] 



HONOURS AND AWARDS 



THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER. 

Lieut-Col. V. C. Buchanan. Major D. R. McCuaig. 

Lieut-Col. A. G. Cameron. H <>n. Major E. E. Graham. 

Lieut-Col. T. S. Morrisey. (Chaplain.) 

Capt. H. A. Johnston. 
Lieut-Col. I. M. R. Sinclair. Capt H M . Wa m s . 

Major F. S. Mathewson. Lieut. W. D. C Christie. 



THE MILITARY CROSS AND BAR. 

Major W. E. Macfarlane. 

Lieut. J. E. Christie. 

Lieut. W. F. McGovern. 

Lieut. Milton F. Gregg. (Royal Air Force.) 



THE MILITARY CROSS. 

Lieut.-Col. I. M. R. Sinclair. Capt. A. J. Plant. 

Hon. Major E. E. Graham, Capt F. S. Stowell. 

(Chaplain.) C apt H. M. Wallis. 

Major John Jeffery. Lieut A w Aitchison 





- T u Lieut. K. G. Blackader. 

Major J Macpherson. u M Rra 

Capt. Edgar Appleby. 

Capt. J. B. Beddome. LlCUt D " L " Carstairs 

Capt. G. W. Brown. Lieut P E " Corbett 

Capt. R. L. Calder. Lieut ] C - Drummond. 

Capt. H. H. Chanter. Lieut. W. E. Dunning. 

Capt. H. A. Cochrane, Lieut J. R. Ferguson. 

(Canadian Army Medical Corps.) Lieut. W. E. Foxen. 

Capt. R. M. Hebden. Lieut. W. G. Hamilton. 

Capt. R. E. Heaslip. Lieut W. T. Hornby. 

Capt. H. A. Johnston. Lieut. O. B. Krenchel. 

Capt. C. D. Llwyd. L ieut j ohn L ot hian. 

Capt. W. S. M. MacTier. Li eut A. N. Sclater. 

Capt. C. B. Pitblado. R eg . Sergt-Major F. Butler. 



THE DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL AND BAR. 

Lieut William M. Jones. 
Reg. Sergt-Major F. Butler. 
Sergt. F. W. D. Sorby. 

[339] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 



THE DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDAL. 



Lieut. Ronald C. Bigland. 

Lieut. Otto B. Krenchel. 

Lieut. John F. MacLean. 

Reg. Sergt.-Major Thomas Sim. 

Co y.Sergt.-Major Frank Ableson. 

Co y.Sergt.-Major Eugene C. Brown. 

Co y.Sergt.-Major Charles A. Bulloch. 

Co y.Sergt.-Major Edwin Evans. 

Co y.Sergt-Major Charles F. E. Hall. 

Co y.Sergt.-Major Neil Osborne. 

Co y-Sergt.-Major Gabriel Watson. 

Sergt. William S. Blyth. 

Sergt. Percy Bowman. 

Sergt. Wallis A. Cooper. 

Sergt. Harry Davis. 

Sergt. Cecil Doolittle. 

Sergt. Harry Fox. 

Sergt. Francis T. Eraser. 

Sergt. William Hannaford. 

Sergt. Robert Hooton. 

Sergt. Thomas Imrie. 



Sergt. Victor Jenkins. 
Sergt. Valentine T. Keough. 
Sergt. Emile Latour. 
Sergt. Alex. McLeod. 
Sergt. William C. Morrison. 
Sergt. Edwin J. Moore. 
Sergt. David Simard. 
Sergt. Leonard Woodward. 
Lance-Sergt. John G. Dickie. 
Lance-Sergt. Alexander Fernie. 
Lance-Sergt. Percy Way. 
Corp. Sydney B. Edwards. 
Corp. Archibald McWade. 
Private John Boutilier. 
Private John B. Burnett. 
Private Harry Danson. 
Private Charles Hopton. 
Private John Junor. 
Private Terence McGuire. 
Private Charles Raine. 



THE MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL. 



R.Q.M.S. Christopher Millward. 
C.Q.M.S. A. H. McGeagh. 
Sergt.-Major Derek H. Strutt. 
Arm. S.-Sergt. George E. Wright. 
Sergt. James A. Ayling. 
Sergt. David S. Fraser. 



Sergt. William Ganson. 
Sergt. Albert G. Ovenden 
Lance-Corp. John C. Sanders. 
Private William R. Burden. 
Private Frank W. Pyke. 



Lieut. J. S. Buchanan. 
Lieut. William Hamilton. 
Lieut. Frederick L. Hayden. 
Sergt. Charles H. Camm. 
Sergt. James A. Glazebrook. 



THE MILITARY MEDAL AND BAR. 

Sergt. W. P. C. Kelly. 
Sergt. Max H. Mills. 
Corp. Clarence C. Smith. 
Private Patrick Costello. 



Sergt. William Hannaford. 



Private William E. Trumper. 



THE MILITARY MEDAL. 



Capt. Edgar Appleby. 
Lieut. Joseph Bonner. 
Lieut. Thorold G. Crossley. 



Lieut. M. R. DeLaurier. 
Lieut. W. T. Hornby. 
Lieut. Percy D. Hoskins. 



[340] 



HONOURS AND AWARDS 



Lieut. Walter T. Ibbott. 

Lieut. Harold G. Lawton. 

Lieut. David Stevenson. 

Co y.Sergt.-Major Henry Gardner. 

Co y.Sergt- Major Charles F. E. Hall. 

Co y.Sergt.-Major Charles A. Legros. 

Co y.Serkt.-Major Richard Sandford. 

Sergt. Kenneth Armstrong. 

Sergt. Lawrence F. P. Bell. 

Sergt. William S. Blyth. 

Sergt. Osborn G. Burtt. 

Sergt. Alfred Cartwright. 

Sergt. James Davey. 

Sergt. Harry Davis. 

Sergt. John O. Davis. 

Sergt. Albert Dunlop. 

Sergt. G. Dunmore. 

Sergt. Alexander French. 

Sergt. Thomas Graham. 

Sergt. A. A. Harper. 

Sergt. David J. Hingley. 

Sergt. James A. Houston. 

Sergt. Edward Hughes. 

Sergt. William W. Ireland. 

Sergt. William McDonald. 

Sergt. James T. McGuire. 

Sergt. Alex. L. McKenzie. 

Sergt. John F. McLean. 

Sergt. George Millar. 

Sergt. Thomas C. Newnham. 

Sergt. William A. Parsons. 

Sergt. Alexander Petrie. 

Sergt. Frank G. Petrie. 

Sergt. Alfred J. Potter. 

Sergt. John Robertson. 

Sergt. Henry Robson. 

Sergt. John Ross. 

Sergt. Norman A. Shields. 

Sergt. David Simard. 

Sergt. George C. Stronge. 

Sergt. Bertram K. Sweeney. 

Sergt. Allan D. Traill. 

Sergt. Richard Wale. 

Sergt. Frederick J. Walker. 

Sergt. Harold R. Wall. 

Sergt. William Ward. 

Sergt. John E. Westerman. 

Sergt. Harold W. Williamson. 



Sergt. Leonard Woodward. 
Sergt. Edward George Wright. 
Lance-Sergt. Robert Haxton. 
Lance-Sergt. William Hogarth. 
Lance-Sergt. William H. A. Freddy. 
Lance-Sergt. Thomas Saunders. 
Corp. Richard O. Atkins. 
Corp. Walter Best. 
Corp. Ralph E. Breckon. 
Corp. Fred G. Caldicott. 
Corp. George T. Cowan. 
Corp. John Given. 
Corp. Charles A. Goodwillie. 
Corp. William S. Hampson. 
Corp. Mark W. Heckbert. 
Corp. William H. Hill. 
Corp. Frank A. Jowett. 
Corp. Matthew Lincoln. 
Corp. James H. Mclntyre. 
Corp. John N. Montgomerie. 
Corp. Colin Morison. 
Corp. James Nicholson. 
Corp. William J. Paul. 
Corp. Clement A. Randell. 
Corp. Henry Reardon. 
Corp. Damon W. Ross. 
Corp. Cyril T. Tranter. 
Corp. Jordan Tupper. 
Corp. Reuben N. Watts. 
Lance-Corp. Robert Ball. 
Lance-Corp. Charles R. Bampton. 
Lance-Corp. Emeasy Colpitts. 
Lance-Corp. Edward Cunningham. 
Lance-Corp. Alexander Florence. 
Lance-Corp. Paul B. Gamble. 
Lance-Corp. David Guyer. 
Lance-Corp. Edward Gyde. 
Lance-Corp. William LeBlanc. 
Lance-Corp. William D. Love. 
Lance-Corp. David McKerrow. 
Lance-Corp. Charles Oakley. 
Lance-Corp. William F. Somerville. 
Lance-Corp. John R. Watts. 
Lance-Corp. Zeb. M. Wynn. 
Private Joseph W. L. Allen. 
Private Arthur Anderson. 
Private Robert Anderson. 
Private John H. Barbour. 



[341] 



ROYAL HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA 



Private Wilfred Beauparlant. 
Private Frederick Borden. 
Private Frank Bridcott. 
Private Frank Brogan. 
Private George A. Brown. 
Private James M. Buick. 
Private Alvin Clarendon. 
Private Bradford Collett. 
Private Arthur Cook. 
Private Thomas Cowhey. 
Private Allen W. Crawford. 
Private John Crawford. 
Private Thomas Crawford. 
Private Timothy J. Crowley. 
Private John C. Davies. 
Private Ambrose W. Davis. 
Private John E. Dettmann. 
Private John O. Eddie. 
Private Eldon Elston. 
Private Leo Ferguson. 
Private Alexander Gibbon. 
Private George Gill. 
Private John Grant. 
Private Harry C. Gray. 
Private Alex. Grossart. 
Private Ernest Rest. 
Private Lome A. Higgs. 
Private Clarence Hornor. 
Private Roland Jack. 
Private David F. Jamie. 
Private Robert B. Jamieson. 
Private John Junor. 
Private Ernest Keefe. 
Private George M. Kelly. 
Private Merton E. Kettredge. 
Private Donald A. Kyle. 



Private John Land. 
Private Fred W. Lee. 
Private Clifford Lewis. 
Private Charles G. Lewis. 
Private Harold Linton. 
Private Martin MacDonald. 
Private Joseph MacKenzie. 
Private James G. M cArthur. 
Private Alexander J. McDonald. 

(No. 41158.) 

Private John B. McKay. 
Private John S. McLeod. 
Private George B. McPherson. 
Private Louis Miron. 
Private Alexander Muise. 
Private Steve Nelles. 
Private Sangster Peacock. 
Private William M. Peterkin. 
Private Charles A. Pockock. 
Private Jerry Ryan. 
Private George R. Sage. 
Private John J. Seagram. 
Private Harry Seivew right. 
Private John Stafford. 
Private William J. Stonard. 
Private Charles Thompson. 
Private Leonard Thompson. 
Private John Thornton. 
Private Joseph D. Tough. 
Private Cecil W. Wheaton. 
Private John James Williams. 
Private Harry G. Wills. 
Private Louis Wood. 
Private Daniel Woods. 
Private Collin M. B. Wright. 
Private Roland Young. 



OFFICERS MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES. 



Seven times 1 

Five times 1 

Four times ... 1 



Three times 1 

Twice 6 

Once , 25 



OTHER RANKS MENTIONED IN DESPATCHES. 

Once 24 

[342] 



HONOURS AND AWARDS 

Foreign Decorations 

LEGION D HONNEUR (CROIX D OFFICIER). 

Major-General Sir F. O. W. Loomis. 

CROIX DE GUERRE (FRENCH). 

Major-General Sir F. O. W. Loomis. 

Lieut-Col. W. H. Clark-Kennedy. (24th Battalion, V.R.C.) 

Co y. Sergt.-Major Frank Ableson. 

MEDAILLE MILITAIRE (FRENCH). 

Lieut. William C. Pearce. 

ORDER OF LEOPOLD (COMMANDEUR). 

Major-General Sir F. O. W. Loomis. 

CROIX DE GUERRE (BELGIAN). 

Co y- Sergt.-Major Edwin Evans. 
Co y. Sergt.-Major George P. Morrison. 
Sergt. Henry Copeman. 
Sergt. David K. Miller. 

SILVER MEDAL FOR MILITARY VALOUR BY 
H.M. THE KING OF ITALY. 

Sergt. Sidney Chandler. 

ORDER OF THE RISING SUN (JAPAN). 

Lieut-Col. T. S. Morrisey. (Siberian Force.) 

RUSSIAN MEDAL OF ST. GEORGE (1ST CLASS). 

Corp. James J. Campbell. 

RUSSIAN MEDAL OF ST. GEORGE (2ND CLASS). 

Lieut. Joseph Johnston. 

RUSSIAN MEDAL OF ST. GEORGE (3RD CLASS). 

Sergt. Alex. McLeod. 

RUSSIAN MEDAL OF ST. GEORGE (4TH CLASS). 

Sergt. Robert Key. Private Frank J. Reid. 

[343] 



APPENDIX C. 

Statistics 

Total of Nominal Roll 5,560 

Number of Officers who served 251 

Officers promoted from the ranks (not including those commissioned 

to Imperial Army units) 100 

Officers killed 50 

O. R. killed 1,055 

Officers missing 2 

O.R. missing 123 

Officers died 1 

O.R. died - 60 

Total All Ranks Dead 1,291 

Officers wounded 135 

O.R. wounded 3,019 

Total Officer casualties 188 

Total O.R. casualties 4,257 

Total Battalion casualties 4,445 

Percentage of Officer casualties to original Officer strength 588 

Percentage of O.R. casualties to original O.R. strength 432 

Fatal Officer casualties 166% of original Officer strength. 
Fatal O.R. casualties 120% of original strength. 

Percentage of Officers who became casualties 75 

Percentage of O.R. who became casualties 76 



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